Photo Release -- First Niagara Names Westchester Native to Serve as Tri-State Regional President

Photo Release -- First Niagara Names Westchester Native to Serve as Tri-State
Regional President

Responsible for Leading Team of Commercial Bankers Across Lower Hudson Valley,
Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey

NYACK, N.Y., April 8, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Niagara Financial Group,
Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG) named Cathie A. Schaffer to serve as Regional President for
the bank's newly formed Tri-State Region, which includes markets in Lower
Hudson Valley, Fairfield County, CT and Northern New Jersey. In this role,
Schaffer will lead a team of bankers responsible for Business Banking, Middle
Market Lending, and Corporate Lending activities in the region. She also has
overall responsibility for the alignment and collaborative delivery of all
consumer and commercial products across the region. Schaffer reports to David
V. Ring, Managing Director, Enterprise Banking, who has corporate-wide
responsibility for commercial business lending activities in all the markets
where the bank operates.

Cathie Schaffer
 Cathie Schaffer, First
 Niagara Bank's Tri-State
 Regional President

A photo accompanying this release is available at
http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=17998

Schaffer is a Westchester native who has served the commercial banking needs
of the Westchester and Hudson Valley markets for more than 20 years.She joins
First Niagara from J.P. Morgan Chase, where she was Senior Vice President &
Division Manager, responsible for managing Middle Market Banking activities
within a market territory that spanned Hudson Valley, Westchester, the Bronx,
and Southern Connecticut. Schaffer began her banking career in New York with
The Bank of New York, where she held commercial banking positions of
increasing responsibility, culminating in her role as Senior Vice President &
Group Head of Commercial Banking for the Westchester/Putnam/Bronx region.She
has served on the boards of the Business Council of Westchester and the Food
Bank for Westchester.

"We are thrilled to have Cathie on board to lead this important growth region
for First Niagara," said David Ring."She knows this market and its needs
inside and out, and has a proven track record of strengthening customer
relationships, delivering top notch sales and service results, and providing
innovative solutions to meet customer needs.She is exactly the person we were
looking for to expand lending and drive customer-focused services across our
newly organized Tri-State Region."

"I am excited by the opportunity to help make a real difference for customers
in a market that I know so well," Schaffer said."I am inspired by First
Niagara's strong track record and customer-focused approach, and am anxious to
execute on the company's growth plans for this region."

Schaffer earned her undergraduate degree from Goucher College in Towson MD;
studied International Finance at Columbia University in New York City; and
received her MBA in Finance from Loyola College in Baltimore, MD. She will
split her time between the company's Tri-State Region central office in Nyack,
NY, and a regional office in Norwalk, CT, which serves Fairfield County
customers.She resides in Mount Kisco, NY.

First Niagara's Tri-State Region includes 26 branches in the Hudson Valley in
(Westchester) Mount Kisco, Bedford Hills, Ossining, Yorktown Heights and
Baldwin Place; (Dutchess) East Fishkill, Millerton, Hyde Park, Wappingers
Falls, Pleasant Valley and Poughkeepsie; (Orange) Highland Falls, Middletown
and Vails Gate; (Putnam) Brewster; (Rockland) Blauvelt, Pearl River, New City,
Nyack, Nanuet, Spring Valley, Stony Point, Suffern and Tappan; (Sullivan)
Liberty; and (Ulster) Kingston, and 14 Fairfield County CT branches in
Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Westport, Wilton, Ridgefield, and Fairfield.
The region is also supported by First Niagara's insurance business, Pierson &
Smith, a Division of First Niagara Risk Management, which has offices in
Norwalk, CT.

About First Niagara

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A.,
is a multi-state community-oriented bank with nearly 430 branches,
approximately $38 billion in assets, $29 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.

The photo is also available at Newscom, www.newscom.com, and via AP
PhotoExpress.

CONTACT: Media Contact:
         Karen Crane
         Communications Manager
         (203) 789- 2752
         Karen.Crane@fnfg.com
 
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