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Photo Release -- First Niagara Promotes Avi Patel to Serve as Chief Marketing Officer

Photo Release -- First Niagara Promotes Avi Patel to Serve as Chief Marketing
Officer

BUFFALO, N.Y., Dec. 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Niagara Financial
Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG) has promoted Avi Patel to serve as the multi-state
bank's chief marketing officer.

Avi Patel
 First Niagara Promotes Avi
 Patel to Serve as Chief
 Marketing Officer

A photo accompanying this release is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=16269

As CMO, Patel is responsible for First Niagara's branding and marketing
strategies, as well as management of departments and agency partners tasked
with implementing those strategies through traditional and interactive
advertising, marketing, and promotions.

"Avi empowers his teams to collaborate and succeed, providing leadership that
is at once visionary and practical," Executive Vice President, Retail Banking
Mark Rendulic said. "Most recently, he led the successful launch of our new
'Do Great Things' campaign, sharing First Niagara's conviction that good isn't
good enough when it comes to helping our customers and neighbors achieve the
goals they're pursuing for their families, businesses and communities. We look
forward to Avi's contributions and continued leadership as First Niagara's
CMO."

Patel will remain based in Buffalo and will continue to head First Niagara's
retail product development and management group, which he has led as its
director since joining the bank in January 2011 as a senior vice president.

Prior to joining First Niagara, he served as a vice president at Wilmington
Trust Co., where he was responsible for sales and marketing strategy, product
development and management, and consumer and business banking channel
development over more than seven years at the Wilmington, Del. bank. Earlier
in his career, he was at Citibank and FirstUSA Bank, with responsibility for
marketing analytics on the banks' industry leading credit card portfolios.

Patel holds NASD series 7, 66 and 24 licenses and the CAIA designation from
The Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association. He earned his
bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pittsburgh.

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,
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: News Media Contact:
         Oliver Hays
         Corporate Communications Manager
         (716) 819-5923
         Oliver.Hays@fnfg.com