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State Banking Commissioner Approves Merger
of First Niagara and NewAlliance Bank

April 6, 2011

State Banking Commissioner Howard F. Pitkin has approved the acquisition by First Niagara Financial Group Inc. of NewAlliance Bancshares Inc. and the subsequent merger of First Niagara Bank, N.A. and NewAlliance Bank.  The Connecticut Department of Banking (“Department”) has reviewed the acquisition statement and application thoroughly and deemed it satisfies all statutory requirements for an acquisition and merger to proceed.

In a letter dated October 29, 2010, applications and an acquisition statement were filed by First Niagara Financial Group, Inc. to acquire NewAlliance Bancshares, Inc.  First Niagara submitted a Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) plan on December 20, 2010.  Revisions to this plan were requested by the Department on January 7, 2011 and were received January 18, 2011. 

Commissioner Pitkin held a public hearing regarding the transaction on March 8, 2011 in Manchester.  The hearing was continued on March 9, 2011 in New Haven.  Commissioner Pitkin convened the hearing at the request of local leaders and members of the community to allow the public an opportunity to voice their opinions related to the acquisition and merger. 

“The hearing provided an opportunity to solicit comments from the public,” said Commissioner Pitkin.  “Having considered all comments received from the public, I have reviewed the application in its entirety and approved it with certain monitoring conditions to ensure the bank’s commitment to the State of Connecticut is fulfilled.”

Please find a copy of the Department’s final approval letter attached.  The Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency have also issued approvals on the transaction.