Northwest Bank took a big step two months ago, acquiring 18 area First Niagara branches for about $77 million.
Northwest took a smaller but notable step last week, opening a branch in Orchard Park that has a different look.
The new branch at 3858 North Buffalo Road uses a format many banks have adopted at new or remodeled locations: an open-style setting that de-emphasizes the teller line, reflecting the changing reasons people visit branches.
The Orchard Park bank becomes the fifth location where Pennsylvania-based Northwest has used the new format, but the first in the Buffalo Niagara region. Others could follow elsewhere within Northwest's branch network.
"I think what we want to do is find out how it works for our customers, do an assessment on it, and see if it's the way that we want to move going forward," said John J. Golding, Northwest's New York region president.
The bank closed a branch at 3670 South McKinley Parkway in Hamburg, across from the McKinley Mall.
The McKinley Parkway branch, which opened in 2005, was a "destination point," geared to where people shopped and dined, Golding said.
"As a community bank, it was important for us to be in the heart of where people were living," Golding said of the new branch. "So we made the move to better position the branch."
Northwest ranks fourth in deposit market share in the Buffalo Niagara region, thanks to the First Niagara branch deal. The bank plans to open a New York regional headquarters in the Buffalo area, which will include additional bank operations.
The bank is finalizing where the headquarters will be located and expects to announce it by year's end, Golding said. The bank will also disclose the number of jobs the new office will have at that time.
Northwest is pleased with how the 18 additional branches have performed and how the two banks' teams have meshed.
"We are basically on track with where we thought we were going to be," Golding said.