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Schumer concerned about job loss in sale of First Niagara

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer repeated his concerns Tuesday that the $4.1 billion merger between Key Bank and First Niagara Financial Group will lead to deep job cuts in the Buffalo Niagara region and reduce competition across upstate New York.

“I am really worried about the merger,” said Schumer, D-New York, during a stop at the SolarCity factory site in South Buffalo. “I said I will oppose the merger if it’s going to be at great cost to Western New York in terms of jobs.”

Schumer said he received information on Monday he had requested from the banks about the potential impact of the merger on jobs and competition. He declined to say what the information said, saying his office hadn’t had the opportunity to analyze the data yet.

The deal will create an upstate banking powerhouse that will rival Buffalo’s M&T Bank. If the deal is approved by federal regulators, Key will hold the No. 1 or No. 2 market share in most of the major upstate markets, from Buffalo to Syracuse and Rochester to Albany. It also is likely to lead to a wave of branch closings, since three of every 10 branches operated by the two banks are within 2 miles of another branch.