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KeyCorp's Mooney named Banker of the Year

KeyCorp chairman and CEO Beth E. Mooney has become a familiar face in the Buffalo business community, ever since Key agreed to buy First Niagara Financial Group in a deal that was completed last year.

American Banker, the industry's leading national trade publication, took note of how Key has performed since that deal, naming Mooney its Banker of the Year for 2017.

KeyCorp chairman and CEO Beth Mooney(Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

American Banker said Cleveland-based Key had to overcome skepticism that the First Niagara deal was too expensive, the projected revenue gains and cost savings too optimistic, and the earn-back period was too long. But so far, the publication said, Mooney "has proven the critics wrong," and cited the deal's "early success in delivering on the promises" and cited her "strong leadership" in multiple areas in naming her its banker of the year.

Key has expanded its presence in the Buffalo Niagara region as a result of the deal, making Larkinville its Northeast regional headquarters.

Mooney, 62, has been Key's chairman and CEO since 2011. American Banker said women and minorities now comprise 36 percent of Key's leadership team and 44 percent of its board.

The publication also pointed to Key's five-year, $16.5 billion community benefits plan and its products aimed at helping consumers in lower-income brackets as measures of her impact as a leader.

American Banker named M&T Bank Corp. chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers as its Banker of the Year for 2011.

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