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City is transferring $45 million from JPMorgan Chase to First Niagara

The City of Buffalo is withdrawing $45 million from JPMorgan Chase and depositing the money with First Niagara Financial Group, City Comptroller Mark J.F. Schroeder announced Wednesday.

The Buffalo Sewer Authority funding will earn 0.30 percent interest, more than the 0.25 percent interest rate it had been getting with JPMorgan, Schroeder said in a written statement.

The move follows concerns about JPMorgan raised with the Common Council by members of the Occupy Buffalo movement, who asked that the city withdraw its deposits from the institution.

"Not only will the funds earn more interest with First Niagara, a major local employer headquartered in Buffalo, but it also sends a crystal-clear message to JPMorgan Chase that the City of Buffalo is not happy with their business practices," Schroeder said.

JPMorgan Chase revealed a $2 billion trading loss earlier this month, and its Main Place Tower offices were the site of an October demonstration by Occupy Buffalo and other groups critical of its foreclosure practices.

Schroeder said he has been looking into concerns about JPMorgan since taking office in January, but he could not take an action if it would cause the city to lose money.

"Fortunately, we were able to find an interest rate that would make the city more money than what it was earning with JPMorgan Chase," he said in the statement.

Council President Richard A. Fontana, Majority Leader Demone A. Smith, Delaware Council Member Michael J. LoCurto and South Council Member Christopher P. Scanlon each offered statements supporting the move in a news release from Schroeder's office.

The move will make it easier for Sewer Authority employees to cash their checks because of First Niagara's area branches, Schroeder said.