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First Niagara swings to profit in second quarter

Rochester Business Journal
July 19, 2013

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. on Friday reported second-quarter net income of $63.6 million attributable to shareholders, reversing its net loss from a year ago, which stemmed from costs related to its acquisition of HSBC Bank USA N.A. branches.

The Buffalo-based bank’s most-recent earnings were 18 cents a share, matching Wall Street estimates.

The bank lost $18.5 million, or 5 cents a share, in the second quarter 2012, including $135.2 million in pre-tax acquisition and restructuring expenses primarily related to the closing of the HSBC transaction in May 2012.

“During the second quarter, we continued to generate positive operating leverage driven by stronger than expected fee income growth and our continued focus on managing our expense base to meet our previously disclosed year-end targets,” said Gregory Norwood, chief financial officer, in a statement.

The number of loans increased 8 percent compared to the first quarter, and commercial loans were up 10 percent, the bank reported. Consumer loans increased 5 percent, driven by continued growth in indirect auto loan balances but partially offset by a decline in residential mortgage loans.

Net interest income was $269.4 million, up 4 percent from $259 million in the second quarter 2012.

“We continue to drive profitable organic growth across our entire footprint by diversifying and enhancing revenue sources while managing expenses to achieve real operating leverage,” Interim President and CEO Gary Crosby said in the statement.

First Niagara Bank N.A. ranks fifth in the Rochester market with local deposits of $1.5 billion, data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. shows.

(c) 2013 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email service@rbj.net.


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