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KeyBank Agrees To Significant Job Retention And Growth of New Business Lines Based In WNY And Throughout Upstate  

Keybank Commits To Workforce Levels That Are Equal To Or Greater Than The Current Combined Footprint Of The Two Banks By 2021, And All Keybank And First Niagara Branch Employees Will Be Offered A Full-Time And Comparable Job With The Bank

Schumer & Higgins Also Secure Commitment That Keybank Will Become National Leader In Addressing Zombie Properties

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Representative Brian Higgins today announced that an agreement has been reached with KeyBank CEO Beth Mooney to save at-risk jobs in Upstate New York and bring additional investment and new jobs to the region. Schumer and Higgins have been negotiating with KeyBank CEO Beth Mooney for months on a plan to ensure Western New York was not adversely impacted by the potential acquisition of First Niagara by KeyBank. The agreement, which was finalized over the weekend, will ensure that all KeyBank and First Niagara branch employees will be offered a full-time and comparable job with the bank following the acquisition. The agreement also helps ensure the long-term presence of corporate, commercial, and administrative jobs through a commitment from KeyBank that, by 2021, KeyBank will have at least the same number of employees in Upstate New York as the two separate institutions do today - 6,117 - and this agreement paves the way for further investment and even higher employment numbers as KeyBank continues to grow. In addition, at Schumer and Higgins’s urging KeyBank has committed to being a national leader in addressing the devastating impact of blighted and vacant housing, which has negatively impacted communities across Upstate New York, and Western New York in particular.

“After months of discussions and tough negotiations with KeyBank, I am pleased that we were able to reach an agreement that ensures thousands of KeyBank and First Niagara jobs will remain in Western New York for years to come. With the specter of significant job loss looming, I worked closely with Rep. Higgins to negotiate a plan with KeyBank CEO Beth Mooney that ensures Upstate New York will benefit from, and not be devastated by, this potential merger. In the months and years to come, I look forward to making sure the terms of this plan, which is designed to save the maximum number of existing jobs, and create new ones, too, is lived up to. I also plan to work closely with KeyBank and community leaders to continue to grow the regional economy and add even more jobs at KeyBank’s Buffalo Headquarters” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer.

“The initial news of this acquisition created great angst in Western New York where the two banks hold a large footprint and employ thousands of workers,” said Congressman Brian Higgins.   “Our primary fear has been the impact the acquisition could have on local families, neighborhoods and business districts in Western New York.  KeyBank has listened and worked closely with us to address community concerns and minimize the potential for adverse situations throughout the transition.  We are also pleased that KeyBank has agreed to embrace standards included in our Vacant Home Act legislation, which fights neighborhood blight associated with zombie properties.  We will continue to work with Senator Schumer and Key leadership to ensure follow-through on these commitments and, with support from the dedicated local workforce, hope to see KeyBank grow and thrive in Western New York for years to come.”

The details of the agreement negotiated by Sen. Schumer and Rep. Higgins are as follows:?

  • KeyBank has committed to not laying off any branch employees and will offer any branch employee that currently works at a branch scheduled to be closed a full-time and comparable job at another KeyBank branch within the same area.  
  • KeyBank will add at least 500-600 new jobs in NY over the next 3 years (2016-2018), and will likely add an additional 300-400 jobs over the following 2 years (2019-2020).
  • This growth will be seen in large part through Key’s strategic investment and growth in three new businesses that will be headquartered in Western NY: Key’s Commercial Insurance, Auto Lending, and Mortgage Banking businesses.
  • Further growth in employment will be seen in the expansion of KeyBank’s NY franchise, specifically in the areas of community, retail and corporate banking.  
  • While there will be some fluctuations in the overall footprint of the combined institutions over the next few years; KeyBank has committed to ensuring that by 2021 the Bank’s overall employment footprint in Upstate New York will be at least equal to KeyBank’s and First Niagara’s footprint today – 6,117 total jobs. And, as a result of this commitment, KeyBank’s overall commitment to continue to grow in NY, it is likely that beyond 2021 KeyBank’s overall footprint in NY could be larger than the two institutions’ combined presence in New York today.
  • KeyBank has committed to the principle that all of these workforce levels are floors, rather than ceilings, and hopes to grow beyond these employment levels in the years to come.
  • KeyBank has committed to ensuring that the vast majority of existing employees will remain in their current roles or comparable roles following completion of the acquisition – for those employees working in roles that may need to be eliminated as part of the acquisition, KeyBank’s first priority will be to transition those impacted employees to comparable new jobs that KeyBank will be adding to the region. As a result of Key’s commitment to add new jobs and transition existing employees to those jobs, KeyBank will do everything it can to minimize the need to lay-off any employees.  However, there may be some situations where KeyBank eliminates a position and there is no future comparable position available to that employee, KeyBank has agreed to do everything it can to minimize those situations and has committed that the number of employees that may need to be laid-off as a result of the transition will not exceed 250.
  • KeyBank will establish a Northeast Headquarters in Buffalo, ensuring that Buffalo and Western New York will remain an integral part of the bank’s operations. As KeyBank grows throughout the region, and nationally, KeyBank is committed to ensuring that NY will continue to benefit from additional jobs and investments.
  • KeyBank has committed to being a national leader in helping communities ameliorate the effects of blighted and vacant housing, particularly in New York. Specifically, KeyBank has committed to giving timely responses to bona fide offers to acquire blighted/vacant housing that they are in control of within 90 days of receiving the offer. Furthermore, KeyBank has committed to undertake the maintenance and upkeep of all vacant/blighted properties for which it has title or the right to acquire title via foreclosure.
  • KeyBank has committed to sell branches required to be divested to an institution that it expects to maintain the presence of the branch and retain the branch employees.

This agreement comes following the proposed acquisition of First Niagara by KeyBank. Upon hearing of the planned acquisition Senator Schumer and Rep. Higgins worked with KeyBank CEO Beth Mooney to express the urgency of retaining employment in Buffalo and Western New York, and worked collaboratively with Key to ensure that the Bank’s future plans would retain as many jobs as possible and guarantee future investment and growth by Key throughout Upstate New York.