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KeyBank, First Niagara announce mortgage operations to remain in Buffalo

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Thu, Dec 17th 2015 01:50 pm

Plan will leverage and expand on First Niagara's existing mortgage operations

Projection: 300 employees initially needed to staff Buffalo-based mortgage operations

KeyBank, a wholly owned subsidiary of KeyCorp, announced today it plans to keep mortgage operations in Buffalo, and that it will leverage and expand First Niagara Bank's mortgage capabilities upon completion of First Niagara's merger into Key.

Although it is too soon to know exactly how many jobs the Buffalo-based mortgage operations will entail, it is anticipated that, initially, approximately 300 employees will be needed to ensure all functions are covered.

KeyCorp and First Niagara Financial Group announced Oct. 30 an agreement for Key to purchase the Buffalo-headquartered bank, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. Key had recently announced a plan to bring its currently outsourced mortgage fulfillment operations into the organization. The scope of the project will now leverage First Niagara's servicing platform systems and expertise after the merger occurs.

Currently, mortgage origination - application and product determination - is handled by KeyBank Mortgage loan officers located throughout KeyBank's 12-state footprint, as well as through a centralized tele-mortgage team, while underwriting, fulfillment and portfolio management functions are managed and serviced by an outsourced provider, PHH Mortgage.

KeyBank plans to build underwriting, fulfillment and portfolio management platforms to support mortgage loan origination. Additionally, in connection with the merger, KeyBank will bring residential loan servicing in-house through First Niagara Bank's existing residential loan servicing unit. Key plans to utilize First Niagara Bank's New Haven, Connecticut-based mortgage fulfillment group as well.

KeyBank's target date for a pilot on new platforms is June 2016, with a full launch sometime in the fourth quarter 2016.

"Buying a home is typically one of the biggest investments most people make," said Beth Mooney, chairman, president and CEO, KeyCorp. "Key's ability to own the client experience and the mortgage origination process will benefit clients, as well as strengthen our ability to expand client relationships. When clients have all of their products or services with us, we can better know and serve them. This is relationship banking."

First Niagara does not outsource any component of its residential mortgage origination or servicing. First Niagara's current servicing platform, built to support its 392 branches, is well regarded in the industry. Decisions on organization structure and leadership appointments will be made a later date.

"We are excited to make this first announcement as we plan to leverage each organization's existing capabilities after the merger," said Chris Gorman, president, Key Corporate Bank, who leads the merger integration team, comprising both KeyCorp and First Niagara team members. "As KeyBank looks to combine companies, retaining the knowledge and experience of those employees within First Niagara's operations is critical, and expanding our footprint will provide job opportunities in both fulfillment and servicing to support the additional transactional volume."

KeyCorp was organized more than 180 years ago and is headquartered in Cleveland. One of the nation's largest bank-based financial services companies, Key had assets of approximately $95.4 billion at Sept. 30. Key provides deposit, lending, cash management and investment services to individuals and small and midsized businesses in 12 states under the name KeyBank National Association.

For more information, visit https://www.key.com/. KeyBank is Member FDIC.

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multistate community-oriented bank with approximately 390 branches, $39 billion in assets, $29 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,400 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.firstniagara.com.

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