First Niagara Financial Group (FNFG) in Buffalo, N.Y., has promoted executive John Golding to senior director of small-business banking.

Golding will lead a team of 50 small-business bankers in the newly reinstated role at First Niagara, according to a Monday press release. He joined the $37 billion-asset company in December 2012 as retail banking director for its tri-state region.

First Niagara's Eastern New York regional banking director, Nina Tyzik, will assume responsibility for the tri-state region.

Before joining First Niagara, Golding was chief operating officer at the now-defunct Nova Bank in Berwyn, Pa. He also served as retail banking director in Georgia for Wachovia Corp. and as a residential mortgage director at Wachovia Mortgage.

Golding's leadership as the head of small-business banking will be informed by his own entrepreneurial experience. He owned and operated a group of restaurants in North Carolina before he went into banking.

"John's diverse background makes him an ideal leader for our important small-business focus," said Scott Fisher, First Niagara's managing director of retail channels.

First Niagara has approximately 420 branches in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

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