May 2, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 5:56 pm

NewAlliance owner cuts jobs deal with NY

Weeks after closing its NewAlliance deal that will result in 219 Connecticut layoffs, First Niagara Financial Group announced Monday plans to add 500 to its New York state work force over the next five years. New York's lure: $5.7 million in jobs tax credits.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the Buffalo, N.Y. regional lender will add high-paying jobs averaging $78,000 a year in pay and benefits to its growing upstate New York network.

First Niagara currently employs more than 2,500 throughout New York, pledging to boost that number to 3,000 by 2016.

In return, Empire State Development has awarded $5.7 million in tax credits to First Niagara as part of its Excelsior Job Program, Cuomo said. The incentives offered by the Excelsior program are directly tied to job creation and investment, both critical for long term economic growth.

First Niagara on April 15 closed its $1.5 billion purchase of New Haven-based New Alliance Bank. It previously said it will lay off 126 workers in New Haven and 93 in Manchester.

"We are committed to helping New York State thrive, and we intend to do that by adding to our talented workforce and growing our bank operations in New York and across our multi-state footprint," First Niagara Financial President and Chief Executive Officer John R. Koelmel said in a statement.

First Niagara said it also intends to invest substantial capital in infrastructure improvements and facility operations located throughout New York, including Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Lockport and Buffalo.

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