BY RICHARD LEE
First Niagara Financial Group is solidifying its presence in Stamford with plans to move its Summer Street branch into a new building under construction at 2386 Summer St.
The bank, which has $33 billion in assets and $19 billion in desposits, expects to relocate staff at its branch at 550 Summer St., to the new address in the fourth quarter. First Niagara will be the owner and sole occupant of the new building, which is being constructed by KBE Building Corp., in Farmington.
Located south of the IHOP restaurant, the building will comprise nearly 3,000 square feet.
“It will provide easier access for our customers, including ample parking and drive-up services, unlike our current location,” said Karen Crane, spokeswoman for the bank, headquartered in Buffalo, N.Y.
The branch at 550 Summer St., which has a half-dozen employees, was originally a Cornerstone Bank branch and later became a NewAlliance Bank facility. First Niagara took control of the branch after it acquired NewAlliance in 2010.
First Niagara has been active in Stamford, opening a 3,200-square-foot branch last month at 721 Canal St., as part of the Building and Land Technology’s Harbor Point development.
“With the opening of the new Harbor Point branch, the relocation of our Summer Street branch closer to the Bull’s Head section of the city enables us to provide broader service coverage to the Stamford community,” Crane said, “and is part of our strategic focus to increase our visibility in Stamford and lower Fairfield County, a key growth market for us.”
“They (First Niagara) have made a major commitment to the city. It’s an indication that Stamford is a strong business community, and banks want to be here,” he said, noting that Summer Street is the home of several banks. “The banking industry wants to be located in areas that are growing.”
First Niagara is under represented in the city, said John Carusone, president of the Bank Analysis Center in Hartford, adding that now they’re implementing their strategy to develop a presence in major financial centers across the state.
“They made a $1.5 billion commitment to the state when they bought NewAlliance Bank,” he said.