Share this article

print logo

Jonathan D. Epstein

Jonathan Epstein is a business reporter at The Buffalo News, where he covers real estate and development. He formerly covered banking and insurance, and has worked at The Buffalo News since January 2004. He is a graduate of the University of Rochester and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and is an upstate New York native.


About half of bank customers who are online have received at least one fraudulent "phishing" e-mail designed to deceive them into giving up their bank account number and other personal financial information, according to a new survey released this month.That's double the number from a similar survey in April. Both surveys were conducted by Cyota, a New York software compan…

When Jean Carrow started working at what was then Marine Midland Bank's telephone customer service center downtown in February 1989, she was earning $11,000 a year with benefits.Like many people in her shoes, the recent college graduate was looking for a better job than what she had. She didn't know what she wanted to do and certainly didn't expect the job at what is no…

Western New York's largest law firms are expanding and hiring aggressively, pursuing opportunities for growth in intellectual property and other technical fields to take advantage of the region's changing needs.Where corporate law and litigation have been king, today the growing action is in patents, trademarks and related fields that require specialized advanced degree…

Buffalo Niagara Enterprise faces a tough battle not only to reshape Buffalo's image outside the region, but also to dispel a negative view from within. And now it has to do it with less money.BNE President Thomas Kucharski said his efforts to remake Buffalo's image go beyond just telling people that the area has more to offer than just snow.It has meant proactively gett…

Western New York may not be growing, but its banking business is booming, and executives still see room for more.Fifteen years after two of the area's biggest financial institutions collapsed in the nation's savings and loan crisis, the region's banking industry is again thriving. Eighteen banks today are vying for the region's $24 billion in deposits.Buffalo is headqua…

It's been a year of transition and consolidation in Western New York's health insurance industry, as two of the area's three insurers finalized leadership changes at the top while the trend toward employers selecting only one insurer has caused competition to heat up.Both HealthNow New York, parent of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, and Independent Health As…

Two Western New York banking companies reported higher fourth-quarter earnings from a year ago, one because of growth but the other because it set aside less money for loan losses.Evans Bancorp of Angola said profits rose 22 percent, as the parent of Evans National Bank benefited from a pair of nonbank acquisitions and its branching strategy. Profits rose to $1.2 million, …

Greater Buffalo Savings Bank is planning to open new branches in Jamestown and in the Dunkirk or Fredonia area in its first foray into Chautauqua County.The expansion is part of a new plan by the Buffalo-based thrift, which has doubled its long-term expansion goals in a bid to become the No. 3 bank in Western New York. It's now seeking to open as many as 20 branches in thr…

Some Arab-American-owned groceries and other businesses that do a lot of cash business are being told by their banks to take their business elsewhere.Banks in Western New York and across the nation say they are reacting to tighter federal enforcement of laws aimed at tracking large cash transactions.But the business owners feel that the banks are discriminating against the…

Northwest Bancorp, the parent of Jamestown Savings Bank, said profits for quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 3.3 percent, as an improved profit margin on lending and higher fee income overcame a rise in expenses.The Warren, Pa.-based thrift reported profits for its second quarter of $13.2 million, or 26 cents per share, up from $12.7 million, or 26 cents a share, a year earlier. H…

First Niagara Financial Group has inked a new deal with Albany-based Homestead Funding Corp. to provide mortgage services to the markets served by 68 First Niagara branches in eastern New York.The agreement with the privately owned mortgage lender will not affect the Lockport-based thrift's mortgage operations in Western New York or its plans to expand its mortgage busines…

A large Ohio banking company is formalizing its presence in Western New York, opening a business lending office in Amherst in the next two to three months. Meanwhile two other banking companies continue searching for space.Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank, a unit of Fifth Third Bancorp, is opening up a loan production office from which to solicit consumer and business loa…

Merging Buffalo and Erie County governments could go a long way toward making Western New York attractive for business, but there are factors that also must be addressed on the state level, billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett said.The chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which now has two major employers in the region, said he doesn't know the specifics of the proposal to co…

Workers at GEICO Corp.'s Amherst service center celebrated Friday after the new operation played a critical role in helping the auto insurer surpass the 6 million mark for the number of policies it has sold.And GEICO brought out its biggest gun to salute the occasion."It's incredible. This is not just a home run, but a home run with the bases loaded," said billionaire inve…

HSBC Bank USA is cutting 36 insurance positions in Buffalo as it hires a third-party firm to handle some of the work while consolidating other jobs to facilities in New Jersey and Delaware. The affected jobs include 19 in the bank's property and casualty insurance business, and 12 in its life annuity operations unit. Another five overlap. More than half of the affected wor…