First Niagara Financial Group Inc. expects to close 35 branches after it completes its acquisition of HSBC Holdings Plc's branches in mid-May.

The $32.8 billion-asset company said it expects to complete the acquisition on May 18, when it will also consolidate 16 existing First Niagara branches into nearby facilities. Most of the 19 HSBC branches slated for closing will stay open for at least a month after First Niagara completes the acquisition. One branch to be closed is in Connecticut while the rest are in New York.

The Buffalo, N.Y., company said Friday that it will start sending out updates next week to customers about how their accounts will transition to First Niagara. In mid-April, customers will receive information packages about their new accounts.

First Niagara agreed last summer to buy 195 branches in upstate New York and Connecticut from HSBC for $1 billion. The Justice Department then in November ordered the bank to sell 26 of the branches because of antitrust concerns.

In January, First Niagara agreed to sell 37 branches to KeyCorp and then a week later announced it would sell an additional 27 branches to two other banks.

First Niagara said that once the deal closes, it will virtually double its New York branch network to more than 200 branches and will add more than 1,200 employees. Overall the bank will have 430 branches, $30 billion in total deposits and $38 billion in assets.

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