By Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
First Niagara Financial Group Inc. had profits of $71.1 million or 18 cents per share in its most recent quarter.
The Buffalo-based banking chain announced its latest quarterly earnings Friday. For the quarter ending June 30, Wall Street analysts surveyed by Bloomberg had expected adjusted profits of about $68 million or 18 cents per share.
First Niagara shares were up nine cents or slightly less than 1 percent Friday morning, trading at $10.37.
The same three months a year earlier, First Niagara had been in the red to the tune of $18.5 million or 5 cents per share due to more than $135 million the financial services company spent on its acquisition of HSBC upstate New York branches in May 2012. Profits also were up from the $59.7 million in first quarter of the year.
According to First Niagara, the growth came from more commercial and indirect auto lending and more income from fees.
"As we continue our search for a permanent CEO, the entire First Niagara team has not missed a beat and we are all focused on achieving our overall performance goals by expanding and broadening customer relationships for profitable organic growth," interim CEO Gary Crosby said in a statement.
First Niagara has roughly 420 branches in upstate New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. And it has been actively trying to cut down that number, having consolidated more than 60 branches since 2011 and increasingly pushing its online and mobile banking options to customers. According to First Niagara, it consolidated five branches in the most recent quarter.
As of June 2012, the most recent period for which FDIC data is available, First Niagara was the fifth largest banking chain by market share in the Rochester region with roughly 10 percent of the market.