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KeyBank puts community benefits plan in motion

KeyBank has begun rolling out its $16.5 billion National Community Benefits Plan, a five-year package of loans and investments the bank pledged to make across all of the markets it serves.

A Buffalo-based Key official, Catherine Braniecki, was named to a newly created role to help bring that plan to reality. Braniecki was appointed regional corporate responsibility officer for upstate New York and New England.

Braniecki will oversee the execution of the community benefits plan in those territories, as well as the bank's compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act. She will also oversee a team of corporate responsibility officers serving Key's markets in Rochester, Syracuse, Maine and Vermont. Braniecki joined Key in 1994 and most recently served as community development manager.

Cleveland-based Key developed its community benefits plan in conjunction with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition. The bank and the coalition signed the agreement nearly one year ago, with the goal of launching it at the start of this year.

Key will direct about $5.8 billion of the $16.5 billion in the plan to markets where Key and First Niagara combined their operations, after Key acquired First Niagara last summer. The agreement was part of Key's plan to address community concerns about the acquisition's impact.  The plan's purpose is to bring banking products and services to underserved and low- to moderate-income communities.

Key is putting together an advisory council for the plan for Western New York. The bank expects to announce the council's membership and hold its first meeting in the second quarter, said Jack Sparks, a Key spokesman. The bank is still early in the process of identifying a location for an East Side branch it plans to open, he said.





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