KeyBank, First Niagara merged over weekend

Reprinted with permission from the Times Union

ALBANY – Eighteen Capital Region branches of First Niagara Bank closed for good the afternoon of Friday, October 7 as part of the bank’s $4 billion acquisition by KeyBank.

While First Niagara’s online presence also ceased at 6 p.m. that day, its customers regained access to all accounts by Tuesday, October 11 as Key officials spent the weekend merging accounts and systems into Key. Renamed former First Niagara branches also opened Tuesday.

However, First Niagara ATM customers had access to cash withdrawals throughout the weekend, at both First Niagara and Key ATMs, according to a KeyBank statement issued Monday, October 3. First Niagara online bill-paying services ceased at midnight Thursday, October 6.

Customers with newly converted Key accounts — which were found starting Tuesday at key.com/welcomefirstniagara — will be exempt from monthly maintenance fees, paper statement fees and inactive account fees for a year to help those customers determine whether they have the type of account they want.

The Capital Region is one of KeyBank’s largest banking centers, with 300 branch employees among 800 total workers. As part of the takeover, Key will be closing 12 of its local branches, mostly in 2017.

There are also hundreds of local First Niagara employees in the region. KeyBank is planning to close a total of 106 branches as part of the First Niagara deal throughout New York, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Key was already the largest bank in the region, and will grow even larger after absorbing First Niagara. According to figures from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., in June 2016, Key held nearly $8.9 billion in deposits, making up more than 35% of the market, while First Niagara held about $2.2 billion, making up almost 9% of the market.

In the summer, the banks announced an understanding with Senator Charles Schumer not to lay off branch workers as a consequence of the takeover. However, combined layoffs outside of branch offices could reach up to 250 jobs.

Key branches that will close in December 2 will be: Copake branch at 179 County Route 7A; and Fairview Plaza branch at 160 Fairview Ave. in Hudson.

Local First Niagara branches that are permanently closing at 3 p.m. Friday are: Catskill branch at 335 Main St.; Nassau branch at 25 McClellan Drive; and North Greenbush branch at 600 North Greenbush Road.

First Niagara customers with questions about their accounts can call the bank at 800 421-0004. Key service workers will not have access to account information until Tuesday.

To contact reporter Brian Nearing email

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