Tonawanda News

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March 16, 2013

First Niagara honored with national award

Tonawanda News — First Niagara Bank has been honored by a national group for its work with low- and moderate-income communities.

The Consumer Bankers Association recently presented the Buffalo-based bank with its third annual Joe Belew Award, and was cited for its work to resolve housing issues and its partnership with Habitat for Humanity Capital District.

Together with the Albany-area Habitat group, First Niagara developed and implemented a model for sustained community development to transform neighborhoods, with a specific emphasis on large, scalable residential projects.

“We are honored to share the terrific success of our relationship with HfHCD with the national banking industry through acceptance of the 2013 Joe Belew Award,” Executive Vice President, Retail Banking Mark Rendulic said. “Everywhere we do business, First Niagara employees demonstrate unparalleled passion and commitment to the communities where they live and work.”

Rendulic added that Firsts Niagara’s work In Albany has brought about large-scale, innovative and sustainable change in some of the area’s most troubled

neighborhoods.

“By sharing our model of collaboration and investment with banks around the country, we hope to demonstrate how productive public-private relationships can be strong catalysts for lasting neighborhood revitalization,” he said.

Since 2010, First Niagara has provided more than $3 million in loans or investments, more than $30,000 in direct grants and helped to secure an additional $150,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program. The bank also provides financial literacy training and family support to the resident families of HfHCD homes and grass-roots fundraising to support HfHCD.

The CBA Joe Belew Award was established in 2011 to honor the late CBA president and his commitment to community development. The award encourages and recognizes the community development efforts of CBA member banks to provide innovative industry solutions to pressing social issues.

“The commitment of First Niagara’s employees to this outstanding project represents the vision for the retail banking industry Joe Belew fought for each day,” CBA president and CEO Richard Hunt said. “We could not ask for a better partner to recognize with this prestigious award. The Albany community is fortunate to have First Niagara on their side.”

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