First Niagara Completes Brooks-Byer Acquisition

    LOCKPORT, N.Y., April 1 /PRNewswire/ -- An Albany-based commercial
 insurance agency has joined one of the top 100 largest agents in the United
 States, First Niagara Risk Management, Inc., the insurance subsidiary of First
 Niagara Bank.
     Earlier today, officials representing First Niagara Risk Management and
 Brooks-Byer Associates, Inc., a boutique commercial insurance agency with
 emphasis on the sale of property, casualty insurance and surety bonds for
 clients in the construction industry, finalized the acquisition.
     First Niagara Risk Management CEO John Hoffman said, "We believe this
 mutually beneficial partnership will significantly enhance our construction
 expertise in the Capital Region.  It will also bring added insurance resources
 to First Niagara Bank's commercial customers."
     As a result of the acquisition, the new, stronger agency team will focus
 on nurturing existing business relationships and cultivating new growth
 opportunities.
     By agreement of both parties, financial terms were not disclosed.
     Brad Byer, who has been serving as the agency's president for the past
 twelve years, will join the Albany office of First Niagara Risk Management as
 vice president.  Two other key professionals will also join First Niagara.
     "We saw great customer value in combining with a firm that is very
 professional and represents such high quality insurance carriers," said Byer.
 "First Niagara Risk Management also has significant construction expertise,
 and we hope to expand that value proposition."
     Byer is a graduate of St. Michael's College and is a member of the
 American General Contractors Surety Bonding and Risk Management Committees.
 He serves on the board of the Eastern Contractors Association and is a member
 of its insurance committee.
     First Niagara Risk Management's product line includes personal and
 commercial insurance, surety bonds, risk management, employee benefits and
 life, disability and long-term care coverage.  First Niagara Risk Management
 also handles the administration of self insured disability and workers
 compensation plans.  With anticipated revenues of over $22 million in 2005 and
 150 employees at offices in Buffalo, Newfane, Rochester, Ithaca, Hudson and
 Albany, the agency has provided protection for tens of thousands of families
 and businesses since 1968.
     First Niagara Risk Management is part of First Niagara Financial Group,
 Inc. (Nasdaq:   FNFG).  The company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First
 Niagara Bank, has assets of approximately $8.0 billion and deposits of $5.1
 billion.  First Niagara Bank is a full-service, community-oriented bank that
 provides financial services to individuals, families and businesses through
 115 branches and several financial services subsidiaries across New York
 State.  For more information, visit http://www.fnfg.com .
 
 

SOURCE First Niagara

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