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First Niagara plans to close HSBC deal in May

By Kevin Tampone

Date:

First Niagara Financial Group (NASDAQ: FNFG) said today it expects to close its acquisition of HSBC Bank’s upstate New York branch network on May 18.

First Niagara, based in Buffalo, first announced the deal to acquire the 195 branches in July. The acquisition also includes some locations in Westchester County and Connecticut.

When the HSBC acquisition is completed, First Niagara will have nearly 430 branches, $30 billion in deposits, $38 billion in assets, and more than 6,000 employees in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

The deal will virtually double First Niagara’s New York branch network to more than 200 locations and add more than 1,200 employees to its workforce. The bank will be a major player in the Syracuse, Utica, and Binghamton markets after closing.

First Niagara also said today it will consolidate 35 branches with other nearby offices after the deal closes. The branches to be closed include both current HSBC and First Niagara locations.

Most of the offices to be consolidated are within one mile of each other, the banking company said. The following Central New York HSBC branches are on the consolidation list:

- 63 Genesee St. in Auburn
- 5785 E. Circle Drive in Cicero
-36 Main St. in Cortland
-1708 Black River Blvd. North in Rome
-500 N. Salina St. in Syracuse
-4401 W. Genesee St. in Syracuse

All those locations will be consolidated with a First Niagara branch less than a mile away.

First Niagara will start sending regular written updates to customers this week on how their accounts will transition. Customers will receive a customized package in mid-April with specific details on new accounts, according to the company.

“Given the multi-faceted nature of this transaction, we haven’t been able to give our customers the level of information that we would typically provide,” Mark Rendulic, executive vice president for retail banking, said in a news release. “But, we are pleased to now begin to regularly do that with the appropriate and necessary clarity as to what this transaction means to them in the weeks and months ahead.”

As part of the acquisition, First Niagara has plans in place to divest 64 branches with about $3.8 billion in deposits and $713 million in loans. First Niagara expects to bring on no more than $11 billion in deposits with the HSBC deal.

The branches to be divested will go to DeWitt–based Community Bank, Five Star Bank of Warsaw, and Cleveland–based KeyBank.

Contact Tampone at ktampone@cnybj.com

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