Senior vice president Pittsburgh National Bank

As the economy improves and corporate customers' demands increase, Craig A. Wolfanger finds himself on the front lines of the battle against investment banks.

"Unless we're prepared to offer investment banking products, they're going to take more of our business," says Mr. Wolfanger, senior vice president of Pittsburgh National Bank and senior managing director of corporate finance for PNC Financial Corp.

Mr. Wolfanger, 34, left investment banking to join PNC in February 1991. The former director at Alex. Brown & Sons and Kidder, Peabody & Co. says he was drawn to the impressive array of corporate finance relationships that the Pittsburgh bank had already established.

In the past year, Mr. Wolfanger's corporate finance division closed more than $4 billion in financings.

"It's been a tough market, but we've continued to see increases in transactions," Mr. Wolfanger says.

Though volume was difficult to generate, he says, the bank has made gains in market share and added new clients who could be the seeds of future growth.

Among the deals he has overseen:

  • A $160 million loan syndication for United Stationers.
  • A $200 million syndication for Lenfest Communications.
  • Private placements totaling $50 million for PQ Corp.

For the immediate future, he says, he will draw on the talent of the 30 bankers reporting to him, and hire selectively from the outside, to broaden PNC's products."The days of just offering a loan are gone," he says. "Customers are demanding much more in the way of products and services.
"Overall, I think we've seen the trough in terms of the restrictiveness in the loan market, and we're continuing to see better interest in all of our transactions," he adds.

But he also sees evidence that the recent down cycle will change the way banks look at loans.

"In almost every deal," he says, "you see more banks taking smaller pieces as they seek to manage their risk exposure."

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