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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.


Gone "phishing" lately?No, it's not a misspelling. It's a growing global scam that some experts are calling the biggest threat to consumer confidence about Internet security. And it may already have hit your e-mail in-box at least once."Phishing" is the mass distribution of fraudulent e-mails that look legitimate in order to trick consumers into giving up personal financia…

Several hundred eager job applicants crowded into a Buffalo community center Thursday for a chance at dozens of jobs available at National Fuel Gas Co., Geico Corp., and a hardware retailer.The job fair at the Delavan Grider Community Center on East Delavan Avenue was designed to draw potential workers from the mostly minority communities around the center. The goal was to…

Bank of America Corp. on Wednesday said employment at the former FleetBoston collections and underwriting center in West Seneca will not change much, although some employees might find themselves in new jobs.The nation's No. 2 banking company, which earlier this month completed its purchase of FleetBoston Financial Corp., plans cuts in certain lines of business at the faci…

A New York-based real estate firm has acquired at least three of Buffalo's seven local AMF Bowling alleys as part of a recent national financing deal involving their parent company.Company officials say the transaction will not affect the operation of the bowling alleys, which will be leased back to AMF for at least 20 years, with an option to extend those leases for anoth…

When Michael Lane injured his back and neck in a car accident in May 2001, the 49-year-old Buffalo man suddenly found himself unable to return to work.The former independent contractor for a courier service received disability payments from his insurance company for a while, but that stopped when the insurer claimed he was fit again. Now he had no money to support his fami…

First Niagara Financial Group plans to wait up to two years before any more big acquisitions, giving it time to its digest its purchase of Hudson River Bancorp announced Friday.The deal to buy the 50-branch bank for $620 million in cash and stock is First Niagara's largest ever and will dramatically increase its presence in the Capital District. It will have the second lar…

High school students have a slightly better understanding of basic financial concepts and how to use credit cards, insurance, and savings, but are still failing to give correct answers to nearly half the questions on a test, according to a study released Thursday by a national coalition.About two-thirds of the 4,074 high school seniors who took a 31-question test failed th…

Bank of America Corp. completed its $48.8 billion purchase of FleetBoston Financial Corp. on Thursday, temporarily creating the nation's second largest banking power with just shy of $1 trillion in assets.The blockbuster merger, first announced in October, will bring an end to the Fleet name in the Northeast, including in Western New York, where Fleet operates 35 branches …

HSBC Holdings Plc plans to abandon the Household name on all but consumer lending offices as it continues efforts to stick to a single brand worldwide.Exactly a year after completing the $14 billion purchase of Prospect Heights, Ill.-based Household International, HSBC said it will put its own name on the consumer lender and most of its business units as of Sept. 30. That …

A Cattaraugus County manufacturer is cutting 114 jobs from its Olean factory because it said a slowdown in sales of kitchen knifes and other accessories has left it with too much capacity.The layoffs at Alcas Corp.'s Cutco Cutlery Corp., which amount to 15 percent of the factory's unionized work force, will take effect Monday. Those being laid off were hired by the company…

The New York Power Authority extended contracts for two Buffalo-area manufacturers and transferred a contract to a third in a bid to support the future of the three employers.The authority approved contract extensions for low-cost hydropower from the 2.4-million kilowatt Niagara Power Project for Norampac Industries in Niagara Falls and Motorola in Elma. Norampac will get …

For the first time since the merger that created it more than 12 years ago, the parent of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York has met the minimum financial requirements set by state regulators and its licensing organization, company executives confirmed Monday.The news from Buffalo-based HealthNow New York appears to remove a cloud that has hung over the region's la…

Consumer and health-care advocates are concerned over fresh efforts by state lawmakers and Gov. George Pataki to allow any nonprofit health insurer to convert to a for-profit company and sell stock.Just over a year after the controversial $2.1 billion conversion of Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, lawmakers are considering at least three bills that would set up a framework f…

HSBC Bank USA, the largest retail bank in the Buffalo market, this week introduced a free checking account to compete with products already offered by its five largest rivals.The new product has no minimum balance requirement or monthly fee, and includes free Internet banking and online bill-payment. Overdraft protection is also included, and direct deposit is not required…

Auto insurer Geico Corp. moved into its temporary offices at 61 John Muir Drive in Amherst Wednesday, as it prepared to begin the next phase of training today for its first group of employees.The nation's fifth-largest auto insurer is setting up a new national insurance service center in Amherst that will ultimately house at least 2,500 employees in customer service, sales…