First Niagara Financial

  www.firstniagara.com
  www.firstniagara.com

First Niagara Financial Reviews

Updated 26 October 2014
Updated 26 October 2014
49 Reviews
2.4
49 Reviews
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First Niagara Financial President, CEO, and Director John R. Koelmel
John R. Koelmel
22 Ratings

13 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Good place to gain experience, but the bank culture leads to lots of red tape and a very slow pace.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at First Niagara Financial full-time

    Pros

    Great office culture, good benefits, lots of PTO, good work/life balance, great people.

    Cons

    Wages a bit below average, seniority > talent, bank culture is tight with costs and leads to slow processes to get certain things done.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider raising wages to help retain talent.

    Recommends
  2.  

    Needs Improvement

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lockport, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Lockport, NY (US)

    I have been working at First Niagara Financial as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Small enough not become utterly capricious and random, like Bank of America. Also small enough to still be somewhat responsive to reality on the ground.

    Cons

    Middle management ranks are becoming like all others in the banking industry; that is, simple power players and not problem solvers and protectors of assets.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    When you import management talent from other banks, understand that you are also importing some of the worst aspects of American banking culture. STUDY the science of what makes for good managers, and you have to WORK HARDER to keep your sense of "great culture" that you are in jeopardy of losing as we speak.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Stressfull

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teller in Rockland, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Teller in Rockland, NY (US)

    I have been working at First Niagara Financial full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Jeans Day, lovely teller system, fun work environment, make your own branch signage

    Cons

    goals are very high and there is a lot of pressure when it comes to making them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop giving unreasonable goals and get a better incentive program for the tellers

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Okay, but...

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at First Niagara Financial

    Pros

    Somewhat collaborative culture.
    Decent salaries for W. New York.

    Cons

    Unintentional bait and switch...company needs to learn true strategy.
    People are nice, but the level of outside/large company experience at management/senior level hinders the company growth potential.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Company needs to restructure itself in order to clearly understand your potential career path.
    Advancement maybe possible only if you are in the right role.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    it's okay.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teller in East Windsor, CT (US)
    Current Employee - Teller in East Windsor, CT (US)

    I have been working at First Niagara Financial part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Competitive pay, HR & Tech center is very helpful.

    Cons

    Advancement within company takes a while.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Philly region

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service in Harleysville, PA (US)
    Former Employee - Customer Service in Harleysville, PA (US)

    I worked at First Niagara Financial full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The people I worked with daily. My vacation and flexibility since my supervisor was in Buffalo.

    Cons

    They lay people off left and right.
    They don't know the market they got into when they bought Harleysville National Bank.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Know your market and stop putting fluff in your employees ears about the culture and how great it is. Not really that great if you're laying off employees all the time. If they would have done proper due diligence they wouldn't need to lay good people off.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Good company but trying to grow too fast

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Branch Manager
    Current Employee - Branch Manager

    I have been working at First Niagara Financial full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    The people you work with and for want you to succeed. They have assembled a team of people from a ton of great organizations and they are attempting to build a new leader in banking. They put lots of focus around organizational development, engagement, and transparency. I am a top performer and I get constant regonition for my production and leadership.

    Cons

    The problems are around the fast expansion of the company. They had four purchases within four years and went from a savings thrift bank to a top 25 within that time. As a result, everything is constantly changing and no one can keep up. The communication is terrible and the incentive program does not reward. Although you get recognitinon, if money is a concern this is not the place to be. Due to all the purchases the budget is tight and they don't pay for performance. It often feels like the people at the top want to be running a large bank so badly that they don't care how their employees are affected and how much they have to deal with from the public.Lastly, there is little room for advancement since the company is still generally small and doesn't have a range of available positions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reward employees and don't make them feel like sales machines. Sometimes the goals can stay relatively stagnant from year to year. Raising a goal and then unofficially raising it by 20% more puts employees in a stressful position.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    IT: Nice People, Clueless Management

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Buffalo, NY (US)
    Former Employee - Software Developer in Buffalo, NY (US)

    I worked at First Niagara Financial full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    IT is young and vibrant at FNFG. The people are friendly and supportive. Times are tight for everyone, but if you have a good idea, they will usually find a way to fund it.

    Cons

    The other side of the "young and vibrant" coin is their inexperience. For an enterprise IT environment, it's still a pretty small organization and yet they want to be grown ups so bad, they tend to adopt unnecessary bureaucratic procedure just because that's what the big banks do.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Slow down growing the org chart, and focus on the people you already have. Say "no" to the lines of business when they want more work done than you have the people or experience to accomplish.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10.  

    The company is a good company as long as you have the right management which I didn't.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Deposit Operation Generalist in Lockport, NY (US)
    Former Employee - Deposit Operation Generalist in Lockport, NY (US)

    I worked at First Niagara Financial

    Pros

    They allow you to balance your work with your daily live, have a great benefit package, provide overtime at the time of merger which means extra money in our pockets.

    Cons

    Sometimes the work load is too little for everyone to go thru the day, however when someone quits or gets fired they take a long time to get replaces and one time from 7 in a department we went down to 3 & the work load increased excessively as you may immagine, however they did nothing to hire someone to help.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    It is important to treat everyone equally, even when you have differences with one or two employees, because it is greatly noticeable.

  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    So so.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at First Niagara Financial

    Pros

    Good people to work with. Lunch is often provided at no cost. Recently acquired HSBC branches throughout north east. Cool logo.

    Cons

    Difficult to move up or even laterally. Some lazy people have found their way to the top. May be expanding to quickly.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Look to some of the youner employees during expansion. Some of the old guard still can't scan and e-mail a document in less than 5 minutes.

    No opinion of CEO

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