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KeyBank's takeover of First Niagara opposed by area leaders

Chris Caya WBFO News

Key Bank's proposed takeover of First Niagara is running into opposition from elected officials. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and Rep. Brian Higgins both insist the transaction would greatly reduce competition in metro Buffalo and across Upstate New York. They have both sent letters opposing the deal to federal regulators.

Poloncarz says there will also be significant job loss.

"First Niagara Bank is a major player in this region with regards to having its corporate headquarters right here in Buffalo, in Larkinville, as well as the money that they provide to cultural organizations and the like, that in all likelihood would probably be lost as a result of this closure. So the impact is something that I don't think we can truly calculate," Poloncarz said at a Friday news conference.

"We can sort of have an estimate with regards to job loss. But the impact on the community will be great. It will not be positive, there's no doubt about that,"

Higgins says well over 3,000 jobs are on the line. He points out that the proposal gives two banks control of 83% of the region's marketplace, which he says fails the "market concentration test" used by federal regulators.  

Higgins referred to KeyBank an "outside entity" that does not have "an emotional or economic commitment to the area."