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An eye on Northwest’s growth

Northwest Bancshares Inc. officials say the announcement of Columbus as the company headquarters of the holding company won’t affect Warren’s status as the headquarters of Northwest Bank.

That’s good — because Warren didn’t need more bad financial news.

It was a punch to the gut when the Bluestem Group’s Irvine Distribution Center in Warren County announced its closure last November. There are 300 area workers who are now trying to find other work, with help from the Warren County Chamber of Business and Industry.

Northwest Bank is the biggest employer in Warren County with more than 650 local employees. Losing both the headquarter designation and the jobs that go along with it would have been an even bigger blow as the loss of the Irvine Center.

It’s disappointing to see the corporate holding headquarters move, but keeping Northwest Bank as an integral part of Warren County is important right now. We’d suggest local government and education officials do all they can to make sure Northwest is supported in our local community with a taxing environment and the type of employees that keep Warren County competitive with places like Cleveland.

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