Banking has its own lingo. But in announcing some layoffs, BT Financial Corp. employed the lexicon of downsizing and lost its dictionary in the process.

Johnstown-based BT Financial said last week that it would be closing one of the five branches it was getting in its purchase of Huntington National Bank of Pennsylvania. One result, BT said, would be the "furlough of 19 employees."

"The American Heritage Dictionary" defines "furlough" as "a leave of absence or vacation." The use of the word seemed to imply that the 19 employees' would still have jobs.

In fact, they are being laid off, chairman and chief executive John H. Anderson confirmed.

Mr. Anderson said $1.2 billion-asset BT used "furlough" in its press release at the recommendation of Bizet & Co., a Pittsburgh firm it has hired to help the employees find new work.

Bizet spokeswoman Holly Hicks-Opperman said the outplacement firm sought a term that could apply to all of the layoffs, since they're occurring at different times. She said she has seen the word used before to describe either a permanent or a temporary job displacement.


Parting is such sweet sorrow, but branching can be sweet revenge.

Robert Pincus was chief executive of the old Sovran Bank/D.C. National in the District of Columbia for years before he quit in the wake of C&S/Sovran Corp.'s merger with the old NCNB Corp. (creating NationsBank Corp.) in 1991.

Now, as chief executive of the smaller Franklin National Bank, he's moving back into the D.C. branches abandoned by NationsBank - branches he first prospected in the 1980s at Sovran.

On one busy street downtown, two branches (one of them an old Sovran branch) have been consolidated into one slightly overtaxed NationsBank branch. Mr. Pincus' Franklin has moved into the abandoned one.

"I first negotiated that lease in 1988," Mr. Pincus said. "Now, I'm getting the space for a song."


Banks in some remote areas of West Virginia had a harder job than most last week in digging themselves out of the Blizzard of '96.

Webster County, located in the east central region of the Mountain State, reported the largest accumulation of any area affected by the storm - 43 inches on some of its mountains.

"We had enough," said Robert L. Mann, president of the Bank of Marlinton, when asked how much snow fell there. Marlinton is located about 15 miles south of the Snowshoe ski resort, where 38 inches of new snow fell during the storm.

"I have a Chevy four-by-four, so I've been able to get around, and the National Guard is here clearing the roads, so we've been O.K.," he said.

Despite being walloped, the Bank of Marlinton was closed only a half-day last week - on Monday during the worst part of the storm. On Tuesday, its entire staff of 26 was on hand, and the bank was fully operational, Mr. Mann said.

An employee of F&M Bank-Blakeley in Ranson came part way to work on the back of her husband's tractor. Denver L. Hipp, the bank's president, took her the rest of the way in his Isuzu Trooper.

- Jonathan D. Epstein, Christopher Rhoads, and Terrence O'Hara

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