First Niagara’s latest expansion is now into the indirect auto lending business.
The company announced Wednesday it will provide a variety of vehicle financing options through dealerships scattered throughout the northeast. More than 400 have already signed on and First Niagara expects that number to grow to 1,500 by 2014.
Lending is now available in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Pennsylvania will jump on the First Niagara lending bandwagon during the second quarter of the year, the company said.
“This is a considerable growth opportunity, complementing our extended market presence across the northeastern US,” said Andrew Fornarola, senior vice president at First Niagara. “Our sales team is comprised of seasoned in-market professionals with strong, existing relationships in the dealer financing business. Combining them with our team of highly trained and experienced underwriters, we’ll differentiate ourselves through the exceptional service that First Niagara customers have come to expect.”
Auto lending will create 16 new jobs in Western New York, five in Albany and one additional job in New England. First Niagara has two credit underwriting sites in Buffalo and Albany.
As with the increase in participating dealerships, First Niagara also expects to add 50 new jobs within the next three years.
“It’s a valuable business to get into,” said Helen Tederous, a First Niagara spokesperson. “And it’s a really great way for customers to be introduced to First Niagara and see how we do things.”
First Niagara also said Wednesday it plans to complete its $1 billion acquisition of 195 HSBC branches by May 18. The bank will sell off 64 of those branches to KeyBank, Community Bank System and Five Star Bank.
When the deals are complete, First Niagara will grow to 430 locations, with $30 billion in deposits, $38 billion in assets and over 6,000 employees. First Niagara’s market share in New York will grow to 200 locations.
Contact reporter Joe Olenickat 439-9222, ext. 6241.