First Niagara Merger Will Lead to 230 Job Cuts


First Niagara Financial Group received shareholder approval on Monday to acquire NewAlliance Bancshares and company officials said they plan to cut hundreds of jobs in Connecticut.

The New Haven Independent reports that it took all of five minutes to approve the acquisition and the only voal opposition came from Richard Fiske, a semi-retired home builder from Woodbridge. 

And part of the deal includes cutring 230 back-office and support jobs at NewAlliance, reports the Business Journal of Central New York and half of those will be in New Haven. The rest will be in Manchester, the Journal reports.

First Niagara told the Business Journal said some of those jobs will be recouped -- they expect to create about 180 new customer-facing jobs in New England, so the total loss would be 50 jobs.

That has Attorney General Richard Blumenthal looking for answers.

After learning of the planned cuts, Blumenthal said this is another red flag for the New York-based company that plans to take over the New Haven-based NewAlliance.

“The bank’s proposed job cuts are real and immediate, while the new hires are vague and ill defined,” Blumenthal said in a news release.

Blumenthal, who will soon take over Sen. Chris Dodd’s Senate seat, is also calling for a public hearing. 

He wants to know what jobs will be lost, when promised new jobs will be added and how this proposed restructuring would affect Connecticut consumers and businesses.

“The bank must better define ‘back office’ and ‘customer facing,’ enabling regulators, stakeholders and customers to fully understand how these employment changes will affect people and businesses,” Blumenthal said.

Earlier this month, New Haven leaders asked for a public hearing.   

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