Investment products are a key element in plans for the soon-to-be formed Waypoint Bank of Harrisburg to stand out in the crowded central Pennsylvania banking market.

The plans gained some firepower last week when Pennsylvania Banking Secretary David E. Zuern was hired to be president and chief operating officer.

Prior to his 14-month stint in public service, which will end Sept. 15, Mr. Zuern was president of PNC Bank Northwest Pennsylvania. There he introduced investment products in the Erie region.

Waypoint is to be formed from Harris Financial, the parent of Harris Savings Bank of Harrisburg; and York Financial Corp., the parent of York Federal Savings and Loan Association of York, Pa.

"This integration of York and Harris is very exciting. We are about to become one of the larger banking institutions in central Pennsylvania," Mr. Zuern said.

On Sept. 15, Mr. Zuern, 51, will become president and chief operating officer of Harris Financial, succeeding John Atkinson, who will have held those jobs for two-and-a-half years. As banking secretary Mr. Zuern will be succeeded by James B. Kauffman Jr., now the deputy secretary for depository institutions.

Mr. Zuern said he has developed a keen interest in the merger plan, which was announced in March.

"I could see it was a unique opportunity to blend the strengths of two of the midstate's most respected locally owned banks into a community-oriented bank with the size needed to deliver the range of products and services that customers seek," he said.

Mr. Zuern said developing a comprehensive line of investment products would be crucial to Waypoint's success.

His former employer PNC "was doing things to integrate the [investment product] distribution system into their branch locations," he said. "That is something we want to do here at the new Waypoint."

He added, "PNC's northwestern Pennsylvania region had $3.5 billion in assets; Waypoint will have $4.6 billion. We are talking about two very similar organizations in terms of size, area, and what they want to offer."

Mr. Zuern said he wants to increase Waypoint's penetration into central Pennsylvania, grab more business from former Harris and York customers, and offer related financial products.

"We have room here to increase our market share and offer asset management, securities, and insurance products," Mr. Zuern said. "It is up to us to make sure that succeeds."

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