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KeyBank installing regional headquarters in Buffalo, renaming arena

WBFO's Mike Desmond

KeyBank Chairman and CEO Beth Mooney says First Niagara's Larkinville complex will be Key's Northeast Regional Headquarters once the two banks merge. The new name of the downtown arena will be KeyBank Center, taking over First Niagara's sponsorship.

Mooney said merger approvals are slowly falling into place.

"In banking, there is a series of industry and regulatory approvals we need. We are looking for those approvals in the third quarter of this year," she said Wednesday.

If approved, the downtown arena will be renamed KeyBank Center. It will be the fourth bank-related moniker for the venue, which earlier had the names Marine Midland and HSBC on its facade.

"I'm a big sports fan," Mooney told a press gathering. "So, I was excited at the opportunity for us to pick up the naming of the First Niagara Center to make it KeyBank Center and support the Sabres in this market."

“The Buffalo Sabres look forward to expanding our current partnership with KeyBank upon the federal regulatory approval of their merger with First Niagara Financial Group. Once the financial transaction has closed, the Buffalo Sabres will have a far-reaching partnership in place with KeyBank through our arena naming rights agreement, as First Niagara Center will become KeyBank Center,” Sabres President Russ Brandon said, in a statement.

Mooney said the merger would make Key a major player in New York.

"Buffalo will be our second largest market outside of Cleveland, which is our headquarters. We will be doing business in 15 states with banking centers and, bar none, the largest state that we will be do business in will be New York. Thirty percent of Key's business operations will be in the State of New York," she added.

Mooney was reluctant to provide specific plans for local employment following the bank merger. She said the two sides are working through that process.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.