First Niagara Purchase of HSBC Branches Saving Jobs

August 1, 2011 Updated Aug 1, 2011 at 6:54 PM EDT

By Jennifer Stanonis

August 1, 2011 Updated Aug 1, 2011 at 6:54 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- First Niagara held a news conference Monday morning at its headquarters in downtown Buffalo to give more details on the purchase of nearly 200 branches from HSBC which includes all the branches in Western New York.

The paperwork was signed over the weekend and on Monday, First Niagara President and CEO John Koelmel held a news conference to give more details about it. "We are making a significant investment to grow our business, we're doubling down here in Buffalo and across the region," Koelmel said. "Provides further evidence and validation of our commitment to this market, to the pride we have in calling Buffalo home."

First Niagara says most of the 1,900 people currently employed in those branches are expected to keep a job. Next year First Niagara plans to employ more than 4,000 New Yorkers which is up from 2,600 right now. "I have every expectation we'll see a positive here because speaking for ourselves we continue to invest and grow," Koelmel said.

Under the purchase, some of the bank branches will be merged. "We will combine branches that are adjacent or nearby or right on top of each other... we clearly want to sequence this in an orderly fashion... for the benefit of customers, there's no more disruption than necessary," Koelmel said.

Despite the positive outlook in this purchase some current bank customers aren't so optimistic and have even threatened to go to a different bank if a nearby branch is closed. "If they shut them down it's a major inconvenience... not all located for people to get to so I would definitely go to another bank," one HSBC customer said.

Others believe it's the best outcome considering HSBC is selling. "First Niagara is a great bank, they're expanding every year so that's good news, you take the good with the bad and go on," another bank customer said.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo also stated this purchase is good news for New York.

First Niagara says there won't be any changes to branches until after the transaction is completed early next year.