First Niagara Financial
2.3 of 5 41 reviews
www.fnfg.com Buffalo, NY 5000+ Employees

First Niagara Financial Reviews

Updated Mar 31, 2014

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2.3 41 reviews

                             

32% Approve of the CEO

First Niagara Financial President, CEO, and Director John R. Koelmel

John R. Koelmel

(22 ratings)

30% of employees recommend this company to a friend
41 Employee Reviews
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  • Culture & Values
         
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  • Disapproves of CEO

 

No Room for Advancement. Cutthroat, High Pressure Sales Environment

Assistant Branch Manager (Former Employee)
Allentown, PA (US)

I worked at First Niagara Financial full-time for more than a year

ProsGreat Benefits. 100% coverage. Decent vacation package.

ConsManagement plays favorites from top down.
Fired some people for "policy violations" but not others for same "violations".
Cutthroat environment.
"Diversity" value prevents the company from firing under-performing employees"

Advice to Senior ManagementGet your act together or I wouldn't be surprised to see reverse discrimination lawsuits on the horizon.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Horrible Place to work

Professional (Current Employee)
Buffalo, NY (US)

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

ProsPay is fairly decent though there are some slugs who are way over paid.

ConsManagement by fear. CEO is a bully, and other senior people are intimidated by him. He's a dictator. A lot of scared and angry people running the joint. Joyless place to come into every day. Like a morgue. CEO too emotional, not steady. Makes decisions to grow so he can lap up the attention. HSBC acquisition was a mistake. Growing too much - chaos ensues. Because of fear culture, and the chaos from growing too fast, everyone plays the blame game. Most of top execs are not qualified to run a bank this size. Ditto for the board of directors. Amateur hour.

Advice to Senior ManagementLeave.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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The company has merged with too many Banks in a short period of time, and needs to get a handle on the processes work

Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

I worked at First Niagara Financial full-time for more than a year

ProsGreat people to work with

ConsUpper management should be more organized with processes

Advice to Senior ManagementBetter organization and communication to all levels of company

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Good company but trying to grow too fast

Branch Manager (Current Employee)

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

ProsThe 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.

ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementReward 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.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Immature

Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
Lockport, NY (US)

I have been working at First Niagara Financial full-time for less than a year

ProsTop compensation for the area
Great package overall
Potential flex hours and emoting
Excellent culture, at least on paper
Decent building

ConsOld technology
Old mentality
Poor coordination among different groups/business units
Overall extremely immature in process, IT, etc
Blind choice of technologies by the business
Held together by bubble gum
Nowhere to grab lunch

Advice to Senior ManagementFocus on your direct reports, not your career aspirations

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Disappointing , no room for advancement

Relationship Banker (Former Employee)

I worked at First Niagara Financial full-time for more than 8 years

ProsConvenient locations, very nice coworkers.

ConsDoes not promote from within, raises are very small, sales pressure is ever increasing and the company is trying to force everyone in retail to work harder to finance their acquisitions.

Advice to Senior ManagementValue the people that built the company. Not everyone from outside is better than whom you already have working there. Re interview your current staff, they have a lot to offer.

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Up and Down

Customer Service Representative (Current Employee)
Albany, NY (US)

I have been working at First Niagara Financial full-time for more than a year

ProsGreat coworkers. At one time, our department had their own corporate culture, and it was fantastic. Advancement within your own area is extremely possible, despite what others say here.

ConsSigh... well, having lived through the HSBC conversion and coming out (mostly) intact: the micromanagement of employees, the fact that we were outright told to LIE to customers, the policies that are broken one minute and enforced the next... all very horrible.

Additionally, the bank has begun using a temp agency to fill certain positions, leading to training groups of twenty that have no idea what to do, and that can easily dispose of half themselves within a months time.

Also? The pay is not nearly enough.

Advice to Senior ManagementTry actually evaluating the quality of the people you hire instead of just mass hiring. It might help. Also, before promoting people, see how they do with employee engagement.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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IT: Nice People, Clueless Management

Software Developer (Former Employee)
Buffalo, NY (US)

I worked at First Niagara Financial full-time for more than a year

ProsIT 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.

ConsThe 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 Senior ManagementSlow 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.

Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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Chatham mgment is the worst

Teller (Current Employee)
Chatham, NY (US)

I have been working at First Niagara Financial full-time for more than a year

ProsThe training is great,learned much about the banking industry,met some great friends

ConsManagement at local branch was opposite of the rest of company. Seemed to believe her job was to cater to every possible cause but to deal with the bank. (republican events,etc). Personal life of management (mess)

Advice to Senior ManagementSTOP. Look at what you have before you start on your next conquest. You are always going to be only as strong as your weakest link or manager

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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Movement in Management causing Negative Changes

Financial Consultant (Former Employee)

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

ProsGreat Salary! I enjoyed working with people who had been in the business for a very long time. I was always learning something new.

ConsConstant movements in management caused negativity with employees and unwelcome changes. The overall atmosphere of the job after some of these changes was negative. All employees in my office were VERY unhappy when I left.

Advice to Senior ManagementPay more attention to changes, peoples entire lives are affected by these changes. One person in the wrong position can cause serious loss of talent.

No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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Glassdoor is your free inside look at First Niagara Financial reviews and ratings - including employee satisfaction and approval ratings for First Niagara Financial CEO John R. Koelmel. All 41 reviews are posted anonymously by First Niagara Financial employees.