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Key set to convert First Niagara branches, accounts this weekend

KeyBank’s acquisition of First Niagara Bank will hit home this weekend.

All First Niagara branches will close for business at 3 p.m. Friday. They will either reopen as Key branches on Tuesday morning, or remain closed for good, based on what Key decided to do with those locations.

“At every turn, KeyBank has taken extra steps to ensure First Niagara customers have a seamless transition to KeyBank,” the bank said in a statement about the conversion.

Here are timelines First Niagara customers who are switching to Key should keep in mind. Current Key customers are not impacted by the changes, and existing Key branches will be open normal business hours.

• First Niagara branches being converted to Key will reopen at 9 a.m. Tuesday. Systemwide, 304 First Niagara branches will switch to Key, including 17 in Erie and Niagara counties.

Sixteen First Niagara branches in Erie and Chautauqua counties, among 70 systemwide, will close for good and be consolidated with another branch.

• First Niagara customers will be able to access cash from First Niagara and Key ATMs throughout the conversion, But First Niagara customers will not be able to make deposits at Key ATMs until Tuesday.

• First Niagara mobile, online and telephone banking will be available until 6 p.m. Friday. Those customers will be able to access Key’s online and mobile banking, using their current ID and password, starting Tuesday.

• First Niagara-branded credit and debit cards will continue to function through the conversion and afterward. Key will replace those cards with Key-branded cards when the First Niagara cards expire. Similarly, customers can continue to use First Niagara-branded checks until their supply dwindles and they need to order new checks from Key.

• First Niagara online bill pay will not be available after 11:59 p.m. Thursday. “First Niagara customers should be sure to schedule or change online bill payments accordingly,” Key said. Payments with delivery dates of Oct. 11 to 14 will not appear in Key’s online bill pay until the payments have been processed by First Niagara’s system.

Key is using the Columbus Day weekend to give itself an extra day to make the switch. Temporary signs covering the Key branch signs will be removed, to reveal the offices’ new identity, on Friday and Saturday.

The Cleveland-based bank is pouring a lot of resources into the conversion. About 1,000 employees from throughout Key’s franchise are being assigned to the branches being converted.

And Key has staffed up its customer contact centers with an additional 350 people to answer questions as the conversion takes hold.

Customers with questions about their accounts can call First Niagara’s contact center at 1-800-421-0004 during the conversion weekend. KeyBank’s contact center teams can answer general questions but cannot access First Niagara client information to resolve specific customer problems; Key’s contact center is at 1-800-539-2968.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com

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