First Niagara Financial Group Inc. : First Niagara Completes HSBC Branch Acquisition - 4-traders (press release) First Niagara Financial Group Inc. : First Niagara Completes HSBC Branch Acquisition - 4-traders (press release)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. : First Niagara Completes HSBC Branch Acquisition - 4-traders (press release)

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. : First Niagara Completes HSBC Branch Acquisition - 4-traders (press release)

Acquires Branches Throughout New York and Connecticut; Adds 1,200 New Team Members and More Than 500,000 New Customers

Market Leading Position Across Upstate New York Strengthens Franchise and Provides Customers With Greater Access and Convenience

BUFFALO, N.Y., May 18, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Niagara Bank N.A., a subsidiary of First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG), today completed its acquisition of the Upstate New York and Connecticut branches from HSBC Bank USA, N.A., further enhancing the bank's regional franchise to 430 branches and 6,000 professionals, serving customers throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

The company will convert more than 100 former HSBC branches and transition all customer accounts over the weekend. Those locations will open as First Niagara branches Monday morning, May 21, with 1,200 new team members serving 500,000 new households. As a result of the acquisition, the Bank will now have more than 200 locations across New York and an expanded presence in Fairfield County, CT.   

"We're incredibly proud to complete this transaction and welcome all of our new customers to First Niagara," said First Niagara President and Chief Executive Officer John R. Koelmel. "We also warmly welcome all of our new teammates. They're energized, fully engaged and now even more empowered to wow their customers and communities. We won't disappoint."

Mark Rendulic, First Niagara Executive Vice President, Retail Banking, added, "We are very excited to open these branches under the First Niagara banner. The team has worked tirelessly to prepare and we look forward to welcoming our new customers on Monday with the same great team, a full array of products and services and our special commitment to make good things happen."

First Niagara announced its plans to acquire 195 Upstate New York and Connecticut HSBC branches on July 31, 2011.  

Customers with any questions about the transition of their accounts are encouraged to stop by any First Niagara branch and ask to speak to a team member during business hours; call the bank's Customer Contact Center at 1-800-421-0004; or visit

Note to Editors: Please visit for a map of the First Niagara branch network.

About First Niagara

With the acquisition of HSBC branches now complete, First Niagara has an enhanced leadership position in the Northeast, with nearly 430 locations and more than 6,000 employees serving consumers, businesses and communities across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. First Niagara also has number-one retail market share across Upstate New York, and has virtually doubled its number of branches in New York State to more than 200, stretching from Buffalo to Albany and down through the Hudson Valley.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements in this document are "forward

Europe stocks suffer worst week since September - Reuters UK

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Military Stresses Financial Readiness -

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — James McDaniel has a warning for servicemembers: act now, or you could be spending your golden years under the Golden Arches.

Many baby boomers put off planning for retirement until it was too late, he says. McDaniel and the military want to make sure young servicemembers don't make the same mistake.

McDaniel, a community readiness technician with Yokota's Airmen and Family Readiness Center, teaches Personal Financial Fitness, a mandatory class at the base's First Term Airmen's Center. It's one of the many campaigns and educational programs offered to servicemembers and their families to ensure that they will be financially stable after they leave the military.

During a recent class, he discussed topics including basic financial planning, obtaining your credit score, and understanding how the funds in the Thrift Savings Plan work.

McDaniel explained to the class that financial fitness is just as important as physical fitness. Like physical fitness, he said, trying to stay financially fit becomes more difficult the longer you put it off.

Setting realistic financial goals early in life — and coming up with a plan to achieve them — is the best way to achieve financial security later on, he said.

The requirement to teach financial responsibility to first-term airmen has been around for some time, McDaniel said, and there is a proposal within the Air Force to expand the training from two to four hours.

The other military services also require financial training for their first-term servicemembers.

Last year, the Navy mandated financial education, training and counseling for all sailors to prevent personal finance problems from detracting from overall mission readiness. Each command is instructed to maintain a ratio of one Command Financial Specialist for every 75 members assigned. The weeklong CFS course trains sailors to educate and counsel others about such topics as credit cards, identify theft and investing and saving.

In the Army, first-term soldiers must attend a Personal Finance Readiness Training course organized by Army Community Services.

While many of the mandatory courses target younger servicemembers, there are resources available for servicemembers of any age.

Last year, the Department of Defense launched, a Web site and marketing campaign designed to help servicemembers better plan for their financial futures. The campaign culminates each year with Military Saves Week, starting the last Sunday in February.

At Yokota's Airmen and Family Readiness Center, classes on mutual fund investing, long-range planning for retirement and financial readiness for deploying are available, as well as one-on-one financial consultations.

McDaniel's students peppered him with questions about how they can plan for their future.

One student asked what happens to his TSP account when he gets out of the military, while another wanted to know if it was possible for his wife to make contributions to his TSP as well.

McDaniel explained that only the person whose name is on the TSP account can make contributions and that once a servicemember leaves the military there are several options for managing the money in a TSP.

He said that while servicemembers can no longer make contributions to their TSP once they leave the military, they can roll over their account into an IRA or let the money already deposited into their TSP continue to grow on its own. McDaniel also cautioned against withdrawing money from the TSP early to avoid having to pay penalties on the account.

"I think it's very important to have the class, because some people don't have the motivation to start saving," said Airman 1st Class James Porath.

"The earlier you start saving the more likely you are to succeed," McDaniel said.

Tips to get started saving:

  • Consider your long- and short-term goals. Where do you want to be financially a year from now? Five years? 20 years?
  • Figure out how much money you will need to achieve those goals.
  • Make a plan to achieve your goals and write it down.
  • Figure out your current financial status by adding up what you own versus what you owe to determine your "net worth."
  • Keep track of your income and expenses every month so you know where your money is going.
  • Once you've figured out where your money is going, try to trim some of the fat off of your budget. (A $3.50 pack of cigarettes every day adds up to $1,278 a year!)
  • Always pay more than the minimum payment on credit card bills, which will save you lots in interest payments.
  • Know the consequences of bad credit. Find out your credit score and work on improving it.

Source: Yokota Airman and Family Readiness Center

For more information about financial planning, visit's Finance channel.

Money for nothing? - Chattanooga Times Free Press


That’s what businesses and professional and trade organizations spent on nearly 70 receptions for lawmakers during the recently adjourned session of the Tennessee General Assembly.

The good news is that spending is public record, so it cannot be kept out of the public eye.

The bad news is, that’s nearly half a million dollars spent with the hard-to-miss goal of influencing legislation.

No, the fact that a lawmaker attends a lavish reception put on by, say, AT&T is not proof of some kind of quid pro quo: An array of heavy hors d’oeuvres in exchange for the “right” vote on a telecommunications bill seems farfetched.

But such receptions — which sometimes run into the tens of thousands of dollars — certainly give the well-heeled a level of access to legislators that is not always available to ordinary Tennesseans or to organizations that may do excellent work but that operate on a shoestring budget.

They thus can help set the mental framework by which lawmakers approach legislation that could have some bearing on the group giving the reception.

And let’s face it: Businesses and other organizations are not in the habit of throwing money away on efforts that they believe are unlikely to do them any good. If they are spending thousands of dollars on a legislative reception, it is in the hope that they will, at a minimum, be in the good graces of lawmakers, if not win support outright for their legislative agendas.

That makes it vital that the news media — including the Times Free Press, which has been vigilant in its reporting on this type of spending — keep the public thoroughly informed on the kinds of things that could directly or indirectly influence legislators.

Businesses and organizations have a right to make their cases to lawmakers. But it should be done in the light of day so that residents of Tennessee can judge whether elected officials are acting in the public’s broad interest or in a way that promotes primarily the narrower interests of a given group.

Then voters can decide whether a lawmaker deserves to remain in office — or to rejoin the private sector.

Europe worries keep stocks down -

It’s going to take more than Facebook’s initial public offering to push the stock market higher.

Facebook shares rose 23 cents above their $38 offering price. It seemed like everything else fell.

The Dow Jones industrial average has been in a slump over the past two weeks as traders saw an escalating risk that Greece could leave the euro, causing more disruptions in markets. Remember the go-go days of May 1, 2012? The Dow was up 8.7 percent for the year. After Friday, it’s up just 1.2 percent.

On Friday the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 73.11 points, to close at 12,369.38. It fell 3.5 percent for the week. The Dow has now declined on 12 of the last 13 trading days.

Nine of the 10 industry groups in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell. Financials dropped the most, 1.1 percent.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 9.64 points to close at 1,295.22.

The Nasdaq composite index fell 34.90 points, or 1.2 percent, to close at 2,778.79.

Europe was the big worry for investors. The Fitch ratings agency dropped Greece to the lowest possible grade for a country not in default Thursday. Also, ratings agency Moody’s downgraded 16 Spanish banks late Thursday, three days after downgrading Italy’s, noting they are vulnerable to huge losses on government debt.

Representatives of the G-8 are meeting this weekend at Camp David, looking for assurances that leaders in Europe can contain damage if Greece leaves the euro.

“Despite all the attention on the Facebook IPO, I think there’s still lots of underlying uncertainty surrounding this European debt situation,” said Scott Wren, senior equity strategist for Wells Fargo Advisors in St. Louis. “This Greek situation isn’t good. I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Probably the same with Spain.”

European shares edged lower, following several days of big losses. Britain’s FTSE 100 fell 0.1 percent, Germany’s DAX lost 0.6 percent and France’s CAC-40 fell 0.1 percent.

In other news:

MEDIA GENERAL: Billionaire Warren Buffett’s company is making another foray into newspapers, agreeing to buy 63 newspapers from Media General Inc. for $142 million. “In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” Buffett said in a statement Thursday.

HEWLETT-PACKARD: It fell 2.7 percent — the biggest decline among the Dow’s 30 stocks — after it said it might eliminate up to 30,000 jobs because of dwindling demand for personal computers.

GAP: It fell 2.3 percent even though it issued higher guidance for the year.

SALESFORCE.COM: It jumped 8.8 percent after the maker of web-based business software reported better-than-expected earnings and raised its guidance for the year.

FOOT LOCKER: It rose 8.3 percent after its quarterly profit jumped 36 percent, sprinting past Wall Street predictions and setting a company record for quarterly earnings.

YAHOO: It rose 3.7 percent after Dow Jones’ tech website reported that the web portal is close to a deal to sell a large part of its stake in China’s Alibaba Group. Many investors view the Alibaba stake as Yahoo’s most valuable asset.

US stocks mixed amid euro concerns - New Kerala

New York, May 19 : US stocks traded mixed Friday amid euro concerns, with all eyes on Facebook Initial Public Offering (IPO).

Investors speculated that the Spanish government will boost short-sell ban, reports Xinhua. The country's bond yield rose sharply recently, suggesting a global concerns over the region.

Facebook, the world's largest online social network started trading at the Nasdaq Stock Market Friday at the price of USD 42.05 a share, up 10.6 percent from its IPO price of USD 38.

The company's market value will hit USD 104 billion, making the company the biggest-ever valuation by a US company at the time of its IPO.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost 8.17 points, or 0.07 percent, at 12,434.32. The Standard and Poor's 500 was up 0.74 points, or 0.06 percent, to 1,305.66. The Nasdaq Composite Index lost 2.50 points, or 0.09 percent, to 2,810.93. (IANS)

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