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Schumer seeks hearings on KeyCorp’s planned acquisition of First Niagara

WASHINGTON – Sen. Charles E. Schumer wants the Federal Reserve to extend the 30-day public comment period regarding KeyCorp’s acquisition of First Niagara and to hold public hearings on the proposed merger’s economic impact on upstate New York.

Schumer, a New York Democrat in line to be his party’s next Senate leader, wrote to two high-ranking Federal Reserve officials to continue raising concerns about the $4.1 billion deal.

“Given the sizable presence and economic influence these institutions have in the upstate region of New York, I believe that the opportunity for interested and impacted parties to weigh in and offer their comments on the potential public impact of the proposed acquisition is absolutely critical,” Schumer said in his letter to Daniel K. Tarullo, a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, and Loretta J. Mester, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

The fact that the 30-day comment period overlaps with the holidays is one good reason to extend it, and the overlap in the markets the two banks serve is one good reason for hearings that would examine the merger’s economic impact, Schumer said.

“Every element of this potential purchase should be reviewed and critiqued – by both regulators and the Western New York community,” Schumer said in a statement. “This means fully studying the deal’s impact on competition, community reinvestment and providing ample opportunity for the public to voice their concerns. If this means extending comment deadlines and scheduling more hearings, then so be it.”

Schumer said the issue needs to be studied in order to protect jobs at First Niagara.

“My opinion is very clear: These jobs are vital to the local community and regional economy, and the employees at First Niagara have been an integral driver in the company’s success over the years – so they should continue to remain a critical part of KeyCorp if this merger goes through,” he said.

email: jzremski@buffnews.com