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Poloncarz objects to First Niagara/Key merger

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Posted at 5:38 PM, Feb 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-05 17:38:16-05

Several high profile officials are coming out against the merger of First Niagara and Key Bank.

"I don't see a true benefit for this region," Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said. "Institutional investors they may see a benefit. The average Buffalonian, the resident who lives in Erie County or Western New York... they're not going to see a benefit."

Poloncarz was echoed by U.S. Representative Brian Higgins. Both say this sale will negatively impact the economy and development in the region for years.

"There were 10 banks operating in Buffalo and Western New York," Higgins said. "This move, this acquisition takes away a corporate headquarters in Buffalo and an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 jobs are lost."

The process will now be voted on by shareholders and has to be approved by federal government officials.

"As of right now as presently constructed this is not in the best interest of this community," Poloncarz said.

There is still no timetable on when the sale could be final but Poloncarz says it's not unheard of for initial plans on acquisitions like this to drastically change over the sale process.

A statement from Key Bank about the merger read, in part: "We wholeheartedly believe that bringing KeyBank and First Niagara together will increase our commitment to and growth in New York. Our goal with this agreement is to combine two strong franchises and build on our success to better serve upstate New York and our entire footprint."

"KeyBank is committed to Western New York and all of the communities it serves. This is evidenced not only by KeyBank’s strong legacy and track record of community investment and civic participation but also by KeyBank’s intention to invest more than $13.5 billion across all of our communities over the next seven years. This will take the shape of investment in community development lending and investing, residential mortgages, small business lending and transformative philanthropy focused on thriving students, a thriving workforce and thriving neighborhoods."

"Retaining the knowledge and experience of those employees within First Niagara operations is critical, and expanding our footprint will provide job opportunities in many departments within Key. Postmerger, New York state will be home to 30 percent of our combined company — which will cover 15 states spanning from Maine to Alaska. This is truly an investment in and commitment to this region."