First Niagara Continues Its Strategic Focus on Mortgage Lending by Opening a New Mortgage Processing Center in Downtown

First Niagara Continues Its Strategic Focus on Mortgage Lending by Opening a
New Mortgage Processing Center in Downtown Syracuse

At Least 25 New Jobs Created in Central New York to Support More Than 66%
Growth in the Bank's Mortgage Business

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Nov. 15, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Consistent with its
strategic focus to further accelerate mortgage lending within its expanded
footprint, First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG) will open a new
mortgage processing center in downtown Syracuse in December, creating at least
25 new full-time positions.

The regional bank is opening its Central New York Mortgage Center at 333 West
Washington Street to support originations that have grown by more than 66%
over the past year. The new team members staffing the center, in addition to
mortgage lenders who joined the company through the recent HSBC branch
transaction, will serve customers throughout Central and Eastern New York and
enable quicker lending decisions and processing. First Niagara already has a
workforce of about 500 team members and 49 branches in the region.

"We are excited to continue our growth in Central New York, create new jobs
and join in downtown Syracuse's Renaissance," said Senior Vice President Andy
Fornarola. "With this new operation, we enhance our strategic focus on
remaining a leading provider of mortgage loans to homeowners in the markets we
serve, helping our neighbors and communities to do great things."

Syracuse's Washington Street building will become the home of First Niagara's
third mortgage processing center, with others located in Buffalo, where the
company is headquartered, and in New Haven, Connecticut.

If you have experience in mortgage processing, underwriting and loan closing,
information is available regarding career opportunities at First Niagara;
visit www.firstniagara.com.

About First Niagara

First Niagara Financial Group Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG), through its wholly owned
subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank
with approximately 430 branches, approximately $36 billion in assets, $28
billion in deposits, and approximately 6,000 employees providing financial
services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York,
Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit
www.firstniagara.com


CONTACT: First Niagara Contacts:
         Media Contact: Helen Tederous, Corporate Communications
         (716) 819-5922 Helen.tederous@fnfg.com
        
         Investors: Ram Shankar, Investor Relations
         (716) 270-8623 Ram.Shankar@fnfg.com
 
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