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Customers' Scoring Boosts First Niagara Into the Top 5 of American Banker and Reputation Institute's U.S. Bank Reputation Survey

BUFFALO, N.Y., June 25, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:FNFG) ranks No. 4 among customers in a new survey of the largest U.S. banks' reputations, up from No. 11 last year. The company is also one of only eight with "excellent" scores.

First Niagara's 2015 ranking was the highest of any New York State-headquartered financial institution in the study for the second year in a row. The company's top-5 overall reputation score from customers is notable, given that First Niagara is the 27th largest, by assets, among the 32 retail banks evaluated. The independent survey is conducted annually by American Banker and Reputation Institute.

"Over the last year and a half, we've made major strides to match our team members' personal commitment to customer service with the technology and organization structure that make doing business with First Niagara fast, easy, simple and secure," said Gary M. Crosby, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Every decision we make and every action we take is with the customer top of mind, and we're gratified to see those efforts recognized by the people we serve."

Since January 2014, First Niagara has enhanced its offerings in mobile and online banking to give customers an exceptional experience through digital channels, while increasing the span of control of individual managers so they can be more responsive to the customer, in person, on the phone or online. For example, First Niagara's retail customers can open new accounts online in around five minutes, while unsecured lines-of-credit of up to $50,000 for small businesses can typically be approved in less than two business days.

"I believe there's never been a better time to be a First Niagara customer, thanks to the talent and expertise our bankers have to offer, the way we've empowered them to address consumers' and business' needs, and the investments we've made to enhance the customer experience across the board," Crosby said.

American Banker and Reputation Institute report that large commercial banks "with significant retail businesses and/or significant retail brands" were selected for the study, with ratings collected in March and April 2015 from respondents who were "very or somewhat familiar with the companies they rated."

Full coverage of the 6th Annual Survey of Bank Reputations is at AmericanBanker.com and in the July 2015 issue of American Banker Magazine.

About First Niagara

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 390 branches, $39 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and approximately 5,300 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For additional information on First Niagara, visit us at www.firstniagara.com, follow us on Twitter @FirstNiagara, or like us on Facebook at FirstNiagaraBank.

CONTACT: News Media Contact: Jodi Johnston (716) 270-8612 Jodi.johnston@fnfg.com

Source:First Niagara Financial Group, Inc.