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November 27, 2023 Deal Watch

KeyBank to vacate New Haven office space; former CT Market President Barger departs

COSTAR The 195 Church St. office building in New Haven.

Ohio-based lender KeyBank, which established a major Connecticut presence following its 2016 acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group, will vacate its New Haven office space by the end of this year amid a wider embrace of remote and hybrid work models.

KeyBank, which has $192.8 billion in assets, will leave its third-floor office space at 195 Church St. as of Dec. 31, according to company spokeswoman Karen Crane. About a dozen employees have assigned space in New Haven, including several commercial and business bankers, credit specialists, and some back-office employees. 

The rest is shared space for mobile workers, Crane said. 

There will be no layoffs associated with the office closure, Crane said, and New Haven-based employees have the choice to work out of KeyBank’s other Connecticut offices, including in Hartford, Shelton, Hamden, Norwalk and Manchester.  

“This is a business decision based on the increased mobility of a portion of our workforce and an underutilization of the space at this location,” said Crane, adding that the KeyBank branch on the lobby level of 195 Church St. will remain open and operational.

Large corporate employers across the country have been reducing their office footprints in recent years amid the wider embrace of remote work, which was made more popular during the pandemic. 

At the end of the second quarter, the 3.3 million square feet of office space in New Haven’s central business district had a vacancy rate of 13.5%, according to brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield. 

Leadership change

KeyBank also confirmed a recent local leadership change.

James Barger, who previously was KeyBank’s Connecticut market president, is no longer with the bank, Crane said. 

In July 2022, Barger relocated from Connecticut to Boston to become commercial banking executive for all of New England.

James Barger

“At KeyBank, we are always evaluating our business strategy to make sure we are delivering value for our many stakeholders, including clients, communities, teammates, and shareholders,” Crane said when asked about Barger’s departure. “This includes reviewing our organizational structure to make sure we are best aligned to meet our clients’ needs in an ever-changing competitive landscape.  We recently announced some structural and leadership changes aimed at increasing operational efficiency and making it easier for our clients to do business with Key.”

As of June 30, 2023, KeyBank had 48 branches and $4.7 billion in deposits in Connecticut, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data. 

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