Supporters rally for Key Bank deal

Posted at 6:48 PM, Mar 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-23 06:49:24-04

Although the purchase of First Niagara Financial Group by KeyCorp is still months away from being a done deal, the impact can already be felt across the queen city.

“I think this is really a monumental agreement that really puts something that the east side hasn’t seen in a long time there and that’s a bank branch,” John Washington a community organizer with P.U.S.H Buffalo told 7 Eyewitness News.

Over the next five years, the Cleveland based bank has pledged close to $6 billion as part of the acquisition deal, with a portion designated to a community benefits plan.

Several local organizations joined Key Banks’ Executive Vice President Bruce Murphy at an afternoon address where he explained the companies’ goal of increasing their presence in under served, low income and minority neighborhoods.

But as some communities prepare for the presence of a new bank, others are preparing to make the tough decision – whether to stay with their current banker or go elsewhere.

“Whenever there’s disruption in a market we find that customers are looking for safety,” Joseph Fruscione, retail regional manager for M&T Bank said.

The Buffalo native says this isn’t the first time he’s seen a merger shake up. Fruscione says he was with M&T when First Niagara took over local HSBC branches in 2012.

“It left customers kind of scrambling,” Fruscione said.

“We were really able to help out a number of local businesses so we welcome that opportunity.”