Photo Release -- First Niagara Names Inder Koul as Chief Information Officer

Photo Release -- First Niagara Names Inder Koul as Chief Information Officer

Jeff Semonovich Promoted to Senior IT Post

BUFFALO, N.Y., Nov. 28, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Niagara Financial
Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG) named Inder Koul to serve as the regional bank's
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO), and promoted Jeff
Semonovich to serve as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of
Enterprise Services and IT Program Governance, reporting to Koul.

Inder Koul
 First Niagara Named Inder
 Koul as Chief Information
 Officer

A photo accompanying this release is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=15985

Koul is responsible for providing vision and leadership in developing and
implementing all information technology strategy and initiatives to serve
First Niagara's more than 6,000 employees and its customers across four
states.He will be based at the company's headquarters in Buffalo.

"Inder is a business-minded CIO with proven leadership skills that align
extremely well with our future plans," said Gary Crosby, Chief Operating
Officer. "As we continue to build and enhance a comprehensive suite of
products and services for our customers in all lines of business, technology
is a key enabler of that strategy.

"These leadership changes will help First Niagara to continue to drive
profitable growth by meeting and exceeding the sophisticated technology needs
of our customers and employees," said Crosby.

Koul noted, "First Niagara has a great suite of products and services for our
customers. The company is committed to deepening those customer relationships
and improving service through innovative technology. I look forward to being
part of this strong technology team that is quickly becoming one of the best
in the business."

Koul joins First Niagara from Huntington Bancshares, Inc., where he
most-recently served in the roles of the CIO for the bank's Commercial, Auto
Finance and Corporate Services groups, and as the Director of Enterprise
Project Management Office (EPMO).Prior to Huntington, he was with Bank of
America for seven years in a variety of senior executive positions, including
business processing, operations, customer service and IT program management
roles. He led integrated solutions delivery and supervised operations in
areas such as Small Business, Wealth and Global Customer Service & Support.
Earlier in his career, he worked on delivery of large-scale program
implementations at IBM, KPMG Consulting, Verizon, Morgan Stanley and Citibank
UK.

Koul graduated from India's elite BITS Pilani University with a bachelor's
degree in Electronics Engineering.

Prior to his new role, Semonovich served as the company's Senior Vice
President, Solutions Delivery Director since 2010. Before joining First
Niagara, he was Senior Vice President of Information Systems with PNC
Financial Services Group, as well as Senior Vice President, CIO of Asset
Management Technology at National City Corporation. He is a graduate of the
University of Akron.

About First Niagara

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A.,
is a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 430 branches, $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

         Investors:
         Ram Shankar
         Senior Vice President, Investor Relations
         (716) 270-8623
         ram.shankar@fnfg.com
        
         News Media:
         David Lanzillo
         Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications
         (716) 819-5780
         david.lanzillo@fnfg.com
 
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