Is Buffalo becoming the next Charlotte?
Two weeks after First Niagara Financial Group in Buffalo announced it is adding hundreds of jobs in western New York, the chief executive of M&T Bank Corp. said his company expects to create 133 new jobs in Buffalo as a result of its acquisition of Wilmington Trust Corp. in Delaware.
M&T, the largest bank based in Buffalo, completed its deal for Wilmington Trust on Monday. The deal increased its assets by nearly $11 billion, to $78 billion, and added 55 branches in the Mid-Atlantic region.
In an interview with the Buffalo News this week, M&T Chairman and CEO Robert Wilmers said that the new jobs would be in the areas of information technology, operations, finance, credit and customer service. He did not say how many of the jobs would be new to the company and how many would be moved from Delaware.
Either way, the jobs would be a boon to Buffalo, which is emerging as a banking hub. In the midst of an acquisition spree, First Niagara moved its headquarters from nearby Lockport to Buffalo last year and is planning to add 500 new jobs - many in Buffalo - over the next five years. First Niagara now has $30 billion of assets and nearly 350 branches in four states.
The other big player in upstate New York is HSBC Bank USA - though perhaps not for long.
The bank said last week that it was reviewing whether to keep or sell its upstate New York operations as part of a broader plan to "rightsize" its branch network.
Asked by the Buffalo News, if M&T — which has made nearly two dozen acquisitions over the last 23 years — would be interested in acquiring its rival's branch network, Wilmers said, "Obviously you've got to be intrigued."