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Saffire coming home with First Niagara job

Joseph Saffire has traveled the world during his banking career, including heading HSBC’s regional commercial operations from Western New York. The Amherst native’s latest job will bring him back home again.

First Niagara Financial Group has named Saffire executive vice president of commercial financial services. He was most recently with Wells Fargo and Co., where he was based in London serving as executive vice president and head of global banking for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Prior to joining Wells Fargo, Saffire was with HSBC for 20 years, including a stint as executive vice president of HSBC Bank USA and regional president of upstate and Midwest commercial banking. There he led the bank’s commercial lending efforts from Albany to Chicago.

Gary M. Crosby, First Niagara’s president and CEO, said Saffire’s responsibility will be to carry out the bank’s strategy “to acquire, grow and deepen customer relationships and continue to enhance our already strong commercial banking businesses.”

At First Niagara, Saffire will fill the void created early this year when the bank eliminated the job of chief banking officer, a position that was held by Daniel E. Cantara III.

Saffire will report to Crosby, who has put his stamp on the leadership team since the board took the interim tag off his titles last December.

Saffire earned a bachelor’s degree at Boston College and an MBA at the University at Buffalo. He is scheduled to start his new job with First Niagara in a few weeks.

“What attracted me to this company is the opportunity that First Niagara’s bankers and other financial services professionals have to make their customers, company and communities even more successful,” he said in a statement.