The banks later came together under one charter: First Commonwealth. The corporation currently has assets of $6 billion and a presence in 15 counties, including Somerset County.
Throughout his career, Koontz has held the positions of installment loan officer, mortgage loan officer, branch manager and vice president. In 2002 he began working out of the bank’s corporate headquarters in Indiana, Pa. The move coincided with the startup of a successful checking acquisition program that Koontz oversaw.
“Checking accounts are considered the primary account for customers,” he said. “If you have your checking account here, and you have a loan with (1st) Summit Bank and you have a certificate of deposit at PNC, if I ask you where you bank, you’re going to say Peoples.”
For the past 10 years, Koontz has driven 90 miles a day to and from his Indiana office. The lengthy commute requires him to leave home before daybreak and often return after dark. It has left little time for his family and hobbies.
“Saturdays in the summertime you rush like crazy to try to get your yard work done and then at 4 or 4:30, get cleaned up to go somewhere. And every muscle hurts because you haven’t used those muscles for five days,” he said with a laugh.
New federal regulations and rapidly evolving technology also played a role in Koontz’s decision to retire. Koontz said he decided to get out just as the bank was getting into mobile banking.
“I wanted out when we did that because I just last year learned how to get my voice mail,” he said. “When (my daughters) called me on the cellphone if I didn’t answer they never left a voice mail because they knew I couldn’t get it. I’d just see if I had a missed call and I’d call them back.”
Koontz’s daughter Natalie Felix, the bank’s benefits manager, and wife Barbara, a seasonal employee with the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, were among those who attended his retirement party in mid-December. His last day was Dec. 31.
Now that he’s no longer working, Koontz said he’s looking forward to keeping up on yard work during the week and making a pest of himself at the homes of his three daughters and four grandchildren. His other daughters are Holly Morgante, a teacher in Grove City, and Marcie Koontz, an optometrist in Charlotte, N.C.
“It’s been nothing but change since I started banking,” he said a few weeks before his retirement. “Time and age have caught up to me. It’s been a good career. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s given me many opportunities, and I just felt it was time to go.”