Banking for a Better Buffalo Press Event

   

 

 

Today, Friday January 29th, 2016 we gathered with some members of our community to have a press event in regards to the proposed Key Bank and First Niagara Bank merger. We know that if this deal happens, it has the possibility to seriously change the landscape of banking options in our communities especially among our black African American, Latino, and refugee citizens. With a deal this big being made that could adversely affect many people's lives in our area, we wondered what you thought about all of this. This is the reason we decided to join with the Western new York Law Center, B.U.I.L.D of Buffalo, and the Coalition for Economic Justice to hold a press event today at First Niagara's corporate headquarters here in Buffalo NY. 

Here's the press release that went out today about it:

"COMMUNITY GROUPS STAND TOGETHER FOR BETTER BANKING

KeyBank’s pending merger with First Niagara has brought to light serious concerns regarding banking in the Buffalo-Niagara region. KeyCorp’s merger with First Niagara would leave the banking market less completive and worse for consumers.

The Western New York Law Center, PUSH Buffalo, Coalition for Economic Justice, and Partnership for the Public Good will be holding a press conference Friday, January 29th, at 11 am in front of First Niagara’s headquarters at the Larkin Square Building. The purpose of the press conference is to bring to light how poorly banks have served Buffalo and the impact KeyBank’s acquisition of First Niagara will have on Buffalo residents’ future.

KeyBank’s acquisition of First Niagara marks one of the region’s largest bank transactions. The deal would leave a banking market dominated by two banks that would hold 83% of the banking market. The current market has left residents under-served for decades. Due to the lack of branch services on the East and West sides of Buffalo many residents go unbanked or under banked. As a result, residents pay exorbitant fees to obtain their money and fail to have access to wealth building resources such as mortgages. There are significant gaps in the mortgage lending market in Buffalo. In 2014 First Niagara made 1,729 home loans in the Buffalo-Niagara MSA, only 38 loans were made to African American borrowers and 1,481 were made to White borrowers. It is clear that disparities exist and great improvements are needed.

Community organizations have come together to express local concerns about Buffalo’s banking market and the bleak future that will be perpetuated by KeyBank’s acquisition of First Niagara. The organizations have met with KeyBank executives to enumerate these concerns. However, the missing piece has been the public voice. It is imperative that residents of the greater Buffalo area comment on the impact the merger will have on their community.

At tomorrow’s press conference the above stated organizations will share their comment letter to the Clevleand Federal Reserve. They will present information about the current banking market, the impact KeyBank’s merger will have on Buffalo, and detail specific requests made to minimize the effects of the merger and improve the desolate banking climate. Copies of the group’s Comment Letter will be made available to the press at the event.

Community groups encourage all Buffalo residents to write to the Cleveland Federal Reserve to express their issues with the KeyBank merger and the effect on Buffalo. Letters and comments should be directed to the Cleveland Federal Reserve, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland1455 East Sixth Street, Cleveland, OH 44101-2566 or by email at Comments.applications@clev.frb.gov.

We would like to invite all communities and members of the media to attend this press event. For additional information please contact Thomas Keily or John Washington with any questions."

For any additional info about today's activities or activities around this issue moving forward please contact: 

Thomas Keily (716) 855-0203 ext. 109

email tkeily@wnylc.com

John Washington (716) 884-0356

email
johnarchiewashington@gmail.com