First Niagara / HSBC Conversion Is Here

May 19, 2012 Updated May 19, 2012 at 9:30 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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First Niagara / HSBC Conversion Is Here

May 19, 2012 Updated May 19, 2012 at 9:30 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. ( Business First by: Allissa Klein ) It’s crunch time for First Niagara Bank as the Buffalo lender prepares to convert 100-plus HSBC Bank USA retail branches into First Niagara branches this weekend.

The $1 billion acquisition, which involves 195 total HSBC offices in New York and Connecticut set to be sold to four different financial institutions, is set to close at 3 p.m. Friday, May 18. HSBC offices are scheduled to reopen May 21 as First Niagara branches.

Business First spoke with Scott Fisher, managing director of retail sales, about this weekend’s conversion and what it means for consumers. Here’s a list of key points for HSBC and First Niagara customers:

• Branches – All First Niagara branches will operate as usual this weekend. All HSBC branches will close at 3 p.m. Friday and reopen as First Niagara branches on May 21.

• Online banking – First Niagara’s online banking system for personal accounts will shut down at noon May 19. The system will return online May 21. The exact time is not yet known, Fisher said.

First Niagara’s online banking system for business accounts will shut down at 9 p.m. Friday and return online at 8 a.m. Monday.

Customers with online-only accounts at HSBC, but no branch relationships, will remain with HSBC, according to the bank’s website. Those with both online and branch relationships will be transferred to

First Niagara (or one of the other acquiring banks, depending on branch location).

• Debit cards – All HSBC debit cards will stop working at 3 p.m. Friday. Customers — if they haven’t already done so — should activate their new First Niagara debit cards.

Those cards were mailed to affected customers three weeks ago, Fisher said. They will not be affected by this weekend’s transition.

Read more from Business First and Allissa Klein in the news links section of wkbw.com