Expect plenty of branch closings in the wake of Key Corp.’s acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group.
More than 30 percent of the First Niagara branches are within two miles of a Key Bank branch, making those prime candidates for Key to close one and keep the other open.
We saw that happen when First Niagara acquired most of HSBC Bank USA’s branch network across upstate New York, and we’ll certainly see it again this time. Key executives said Friday they hope to complete the consolidations by the end of next year.
Exactly which branches will close and which ones will stay open won’t be decided until well into next year. The size and condition of each branch, as well as its lease status, will play a big role in those decisions.
Branch closings will be an important element of the deal from Key’s perspective because the bank is expecting to save about $260 million a year after taxes by combining the two banks.
First Niagara has 394 branches across upstate New York and its smaller markets in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and western Massachusetts. A total of 52 of those branches are located in the Buffalo Niagara market, where First Niagara is the No. 2 bank behind M&T Bank.