Fed Extends Comment Period for KeyCorp's First Niagara Takeover

  • Delay follows letter from Senator Schumer seeking more time
  • KeyCorp announced intent to buy First Niagara in October

The Federal Reserve extended the public comment period for KeyCorp’s proposed $4.1 billion takeover of First Niagara Financial Group Inc. until Jan. 31, after a lawmaker said communities affected by the deal need to weigh in.

The move is meant “to allow interested persons more time to review and provide comments concerning the proposal,” the central bank said Wednesday in a statement. Cleveland-based KeyCorp agreed in October to buy First Niagara, based in Buffalo, New York, to expand its reach in the Northeast U.S.

A spokesmen for First Niagara declined to comment on the extension, and a KeyCorp spokesman had no immediate comment.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat from New York, urged regulators to give people more time to comment on the deal and to consider holding a public hearing to discuss concerns he has about its economic impact on the region.

“The proposed purchase of First Niagara by KeyCorp, another bank with a large overlapping upstate presence, should be a giant red flag for federal regulators,” Schumer said in a Dec. 20 statement. “Because the potential economic and job force impacts are so significant, it is essential that federal regulators that must judge this proposed merger allow members of these local communities -- those who will be the most impacted -- to have their voices heard.”

Shares of KeyCorp rose 2.6 percent to $13.34 at 4 p.m. in New York. The stock is down 4 percent this year. First Niagara gained 2.2 percent to $10.92 Wednesday, extending this year’s advance to 30 percent.

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