A half dozen Connecticut First Niagara Bank branch managers and one from Massachusetts have been promoted to assistant vice presidents in order to create a small business banking team for Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.

The team was created in response to what First Niagara said it perceived as a “significant, unfulfilled market opportunity to serve small businesses in the region with the same level of expertise and support that is often provided to middle market and larger companies.”  The team will be comprised of seven members and will work with local businesses under $2 million in sales, presenting and explaining the services and resources available to meet their individual business needs, and offering them ongoing financial services support and advice as they pursue their goals, according to a statement.

Joining the team are Jorge De La Rosa of New Haven; Bill Hice of Hamden; Gus Kasparis of Fairfield; Mayra Santiago of New Britain; Robert Torres of Middletown; and David Williams of Newington. First Niagara announced the addition of West Springfield, Mass.-based Jason Rivera to the team in March. They will report to John M. Delgadillo of Vernon, newly appointed vice president of small business banking for the New England region.

“As we looked to expand our small business banking services throughout New England, we identified several First Niagara branch managers that possessed the strong sales and leadership skills that are necessary to grow our operations,” First Niagara New England Regional President David Ring said in a statement.  “Under John’s direction, we are certain that the team we have assembled will help cultivate our relationships with both existing and new small business clients, and will provide them with superior service and expert advice to help them develop their own operations.”