Ever since HSBC announced it was laying off 30,000 people, including the sale of 195 retail branches in upstate New York and southwestern Connecticut to First Niagara, financial professionals in the region have been living under a cloud of anxiety.
Reason for this concern was highlighted when the HSBC Center branch location in its downtown Buffalo tower announced it will close a month before the sale and that operations will be consolidated with another branch. First Niagara agreed to pay $1 billion to acquire the HSBC branches, with $15 billion in deposits and $4.2 billion in loans. The Buffalo closing is just one of many expected across the region being impacted.
When First Niagara purchased the locations, employees breathed a sigh of relief. But now comes word that First Niagara has plans to close 11 branches in Albany, N.Y. after the acquisition. Cutbacks in cities and towns with a smaller banking presence can present a real challenge for laid off finance professionals on the hunt for a new post in the area.
So, just how is the job market for banking professionals in Albany faring?
Though small additions, Adirondack Trust and Berkshire Bank have increased their area retail operation presence. According to area executive recruiters, corporate finance hiring is picking up. The Bureau of Labor Statistics did report that the Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y. region saw jobs in financial services stabilize in the past six months with no real gains or losses. Financial-related jobs in the region jumped 4.1 percent from the year prior.
Detroit Banks Hiring
Detroit, Mich. banking is also on the rebound. Hantz Bank is continuing expansion in the area, adding retail branch operations and an office. In a report, CEO David Lamb noted at least 40 new hires are set for 2012. Flagstar Bank is looking to add 250 to its mortgage operations.
A report in Barron’s is also pointing to a boost in banking in the industrial Midwest, including growth at Comerica, FirstMerit, Huntington Bankshares, KeyCorp and Fifth Third Bancorp.
The only glitch—predictions for a jump in banking mergers across the country could come as bad news for Albany, Detroit and beyond.