PNC Capital Markets LLC, the municipal business for Philadelphia-based PNC Financial Services Group Inc., yesterday announced the hiring of three new members to its public finance team in an effort to expand in the areas where the bank has a footprint.

PNC hired William Carlin as a managing director to cover local governments in Pennsylvania, Mark Quinn as a vice president and director in charge of covering local governments in New Jersey and Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley and Bucks County, and Christopher Hoffert as a senior associate. All three used to work together at Wachovia Securities LLC, with Hoffert serving as an analyst to both Quinn and Carlin.

Together the three hires will bring more than 40 years of fixed-income and municipal market experience to PNC, led by Carlin with more than 25 years of experience in the muni market.

The new hires will help PNC Capital Markets expand and solidify its business in those regions where the bank has a footprint, said Thomas Henson, head of the public finance team. PNC has nearly three million customers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and the District of Columbia.

"We want to be a player in municipal finance where we have a large bank presence," Henson said.

At the same time, PNC is most interested in pursuing business opportunities in those states within its footprint that issue the highest amounts of debt. In the last two years it has added an office in Columbus, and, now with the hires of Carlin, Quinn, and Hoffert, will expand its business in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Last year, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey ranked fifth, seventh, and eighth among states issuing the most debt, according to Thomson Reuters.

"When we look at our business strategy, our priority is to add people in the bigger issuance states," Henson said.

The new hires will join a municipal finance department made of more than 30 people. In the future, PNC Capital Markets may look to expand its presence in northeastern Ohio, New Jersey, or in Virginia or Kentucky.

"From our standpoint, we look to see if there is an opportunity to hire more people," Henson said. "We look around to see who's available or if we have an area of need."

And in a market where two of the top 10 firms have dropped out - Bear, Stearns & Co. and UBS Securities LLC - and other large firms have been rumored to be cutting back, there may be some opportunity for regional firms to pick up talented people.

But it will not necessarily be easy. Bankers from large Wall Street firms may not be a good fit for PNC or other regional firms.

For those bankers concentrating on government issuers, it may not be a good fit for PNC, Henson said. Bankers at the larger firms often work with large city or state issuers in several states, as opposed to more local government issuers, which is the primary focus for PNC.

"If you look at the bulge bracket firms, on the government side their major focus is going to be the big cities and the state level business," Henson said. "We have typically not hired any of [those] bankers because it does not fit into our philosophy."

However, there may be an opportunity to hire some of those bankers that specialize in health care or higher education, he said.

"I think there is a much greater opportunity for us to hire people from those firms," Henson said. "They do a lot of smaller deals that fit in our footprint."

And in the current credit crisis that has seen many of the large Wall Street banks suffer billions of dollars in write downs, more regional firms like PNC Bank are seeing a greater opportunity to put their balance sheets and good credit to work in those sectors.

"Bank credit is becoming much more important in those areas than in the past," Henson said. "There is a lot more attraction for us both to a bulge bracket firm in those industries and to a bulge bracket firm banker to us in those areas."

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