First Niagara Financial Group is cutting 180 jobs in all functions across its four-state footprint, including 30 in Western New York, as it streamlines its fast-growing operations and eliminates positions it doesn’t actually need.
The Buffalo-based banking company, which bought HSBC Bank USA’s entire upstate New York branch network earlier this year and gained more than 1,200 employees, said it is not reducing staff purely to cut costs or shrink, and is actually hiring for other jobs at the same time.
“What we’re doing is to run the business the way we always have,” said spokesman David Lanzillo. “Following the HSBC acquisition, we’ve identified some positions that don’t directly support running the business that we have today and our plans for running the business in the next few years.
“At the same time, we’re adding positions in other areas that more directly support those growth plans.”
Of the 180 positions, about 30 are in building maintenance roles that the company has decided to outsource to a third-party provider. The employees are eligible to apply for jobs with the other company, and more than half have already been offered positions, Lanzillo said.
Additionally, the bank has already created and filled about 50 new jobs, though with different people, so that the net job loss is about 100, or less than 2 percent of the total workforce, even though 180 people are affected, Lanzillo said.
Employees were notified this week and the layoffs are effective immediately, with the workers leaving the company as of Oct. 19. They will receive severance pay and job placement assistance, Lanzillo said.
“Any actions that impact people are always difficult,” Lanzillo said. “Retaining talented and committed employees is our top priority.”
First Niagara also is actively recruiting to fill more than 250 open positions across the company, and the affected workers can apply for those jobs.
The job cuts come just weeks after First Niagara completed the last phase of the complex purchase of 195 HSBC branches in upstate New York and southwestern Connecticut, with $14.5 billion in deposits, $2.2 billion in loans and $4 billion in assets under management. The deal came with 1,900 employees.
The $900 million purchase closed May 18, but First Niagara then sold 64 branches to KeyCorp, Community Bank System and Financial Institutions over the next few months, with $3.8 billion in deposits and $713 million in loans, as well as the associated branch staff of about 700 workers. It also closed 35 overlapping branches.
First Niagara kept the remaining $9.8 billion in deposits and $1.6 billion in loans. It now has $38 billion in assets, $30 billion in deposits, $18 billion in loans, 430 branches and 6,000 employees.