First Niagara To Create 500 Jobs

May 2, 2011 Updated May 2, 2011 at 3:58 PM EDT

By WKBW News

...

First Niagara To Create 500 Jobs

May 2, 2011 Updated May 2, 2011 at 3:58 PM EDT

ALBANY, NY ( RELEASE ) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced today that First Niagara Financial Group will create 500 new high-paying jobs throughout its growing Upstate New York operations over the next five years.

"First Niagara has emerged as a regional force in the financial services industry," Governor Cuomo said. "Creating good jobs remains a top priority of my administration and First Niagara's commitment will result in significant increases in local employment by a standout company with strong roots in Western New York. This is yet another example of how the private sector and state government can work together to create good paying jobs in Western New York and throughout the State."

First Niagara Financial Group's (NASDAQ:FNFG) five year strategic plans include capital investments across the state as well as the new jobs with average wages and benefits totaling $78,000 each. These jobs will primarily consist of individuals who will lead bank operations, loan processing, account management and administration functions that will help support First Niagara's intended expansion.

First Niagara also intends to invest substantial capital in infrastructure improvements and facility operations located throughout the State including Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo.

"We are a high-growth company whose success is built upon having the right talent in place to support our expanding operations. We are committed to helping New York State thrive, and we intend to do that by adding to our talented workforce and growing our bank operations in New York and across our multi-state footprint," First Niagara Financial Group President and Chief Executive Officer John R. Koelmel said. "The new jobs we're creating will be critical to helping us continue to win market share and increase lending to individuals and businesses across New York, and in all our markets. We have a top performing team and I have great confidence in their ability to grow in all of the communities we serve."

Currently, First Niagara employs more than 2,500 throughout the State. By 2016, the company intends to increase its New York State employment base to more than 3,000 positions.

In connection with First Niagara's commitment to New York State, Empire State Development has awarded $5.7 million in tax credits to First Niagara as part of its Excelsior Job Program. The incentives offered by the Excelsior program are directly tied to job creation and investment, both critical for long term economic growth.

Empire State Development President & CEO Kenneth Adams said, "This is one of the most significant private sector economic development announcements that the Western New York has seen in a long time and I'm pleased that under Governor Cuomo's leadership ESD could be a part of it. This project secures the company's existing workforce and leaves no doubt in my mind that First Niagara is committed to both the Western New York community and to remaining competitive in New York State."

First Niagara Financial Group, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., has $30 billion in assets, 346 branches and $18 billion in deposits. First Niagara Bank, N.A. is a multi-state community-oriented bank providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.