BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) -- A few of the most powerful public officials in New York State are joining forces to block a deal by Cleveland-based Key Bank from acquiring Buffalo-based First Niagara Bank.
The two banks reportedly struck a $4.1 billion deal with Key Bank assuming operations of First Niagara Bank to create the 13th largest banking company in the U.S. Governor Andrew Cuomo joined his voice on Wednesday to local lawmakers in calling for the deal to be halted.
"The proposed acquisition of First Niagara by Key Bank would have a devastating impact on consumers and businesses in Upstate New York, and I urge the federal government to reject the application," Cuomo said in a release.
Cuomo penned a letter to federal officials petitioning them to block the acquisition, citing loss of jobs, competition and convenience.
"This proposal would reduce banking competition, limit consumer access and convenience and ultimately eliminate jobs throughout the region," Cuomo said. "Blocking this deal is the right thing to do -- plain and simple -- and my administration will not hesitate to stand up for New Yorkers by opposing this acquisition."
New York's Senior Senator Chuck Schumer, who knows the western New York area well, suggested the loss of competition would be devastating to New York's economy.
"The proposed acquisition of First Niagara by Key Bank, on initial examination, seems extremely troubling because the banks overlap so much and merging may entail significant job losses and reduce competition across Upstate New York," Schumer said after news broke.
Key Bank officials have kept mum on how many employees could lose jobs should the deal go through.
"Speculating on numbers now would not be fair to our clients, communities or employees," Therese Myers, vice president of external communications for Key Bank, said. "Our leadership is committed to telling employees what they know, when they know it."
The lack in transparency and potential consequences of the deal prompted local leaders to also join forces to block the deal. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz joined Congressman Brian Higgins last week to also oppose the deal.
"This acquisition would result in anti-competitive circumstances, not only in Erie county, not only in western New York, but throughout all of upstate New York," Higgins warned.
Public comment on the deal closed at the end of January, but it's not yet known how the public opinion may sway officials in blocking the deal.
Read Gov. Cuomo's letter to federal officials below:
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Source : http://www.wivb.com/2016/02/10/gov-cuomo-joins-sen-schumer-in-opposing-key-banks-acquisition-of-first-niagara/