First Niagara Financial

  www.firstniagara.com
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

First Niagara Financial Reviews

Updated 10 August 2014
Updated 10 August 2014
46 Reviews

2.3
46 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
First Niagara Financial President, CEO, and Director John R. Koelmel
John R. Koelmel
22 Ratings

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1.  

    Not good

    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Teller  in  Pittsburgh, PA (US)
    Current Employee - Teller in Pittsburgh, PA (US)

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

    Pros

    Benefits are good ....that's about it

    Cons

    Turnover is high...company is constantly changing staff!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Practice what you preach!

  2. 2 people found this helpful  

    FNFG teller

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Back Up Head Teller  in  Lockport, NY (US)
    Former Employee - Back Up Head Teller in Lockport, NY (US)

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

    Pros

    you receive a paycheck every 2 weeks

    Cons

    -no opportunity for advancement even if you are more than qualified for the job openings
    -everything operates on favoritism, even if you have the best numbers you are not promoted

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get to know all employees and utilize the talent that you have, instead of promoting off of favoritism

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    Lies, Lies, Lies

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

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

    Pros

    Parties are fun, Senior Management pumps you up with motivational fluffery.

    Cons

    Executives, Leadership Council, and Managers can not be trusted. They promote the CULTURE as outstanding. They need to stop talking to themselves. If anyone tries to provide constructive advice or make real change - they are silenced. Look at the long list of outstanding leaders who have been let go for no reason and with no notice.

    John Koelmel, the CEO is out for himself and that permeates the organization. Mr. Koelmel has FNFG pay for company events that are personal parties for him. He is a bully that is not capable of listening. As soon as someone as a different idea than his, that person is escorted from the company. I have seen it time and time again.

    The lack of integrity permeates the management ranks. They make promises they do not live up to. They are dishonest people. The Management Committee members on down will tell you how great they work together and the great culture. Then behind closed doors they put themselves first - time and time again. Do not be fooled!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The Board of Directors needs to wake up and replace all the lying, dishonest, promise-makers who take care of themselves at the expense of customers and employees.

    Management and all employees - keep your resumes updated as you are all replaceable and your "teammates" are plotting your exit that could occur at any time.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  4. We want your feedback – Are these company reviews helpful to you?  Yes | No
  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Leadership catastrophe

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

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

    Pros

    great logo colors; decent PTO; community involvement

    Cons

    Weak Leadership; Weak Organizational Development and HR departments; extremely political environment; little accountability; no infrastructure (although they are spending some major $$ just to catch up to competitive market) poor stability and portfolio ratings, ESOP plan decreased by>60% during 2012, stock price is pitiful.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize that the organization can only progress to the level of the leader--the organization has been set up to become a case study for learning by neglecting to properly assess talent and culture before executing M&A activity--listen to your employees before pulling the trigger, they are your greatest assets and have the ability to fill the gaps and blindspots of management. Also, competence levels of execs needs to be evaluated--many are in way over their heads.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 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 for 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
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    No Room for Advancement. Cutthroat, High Pressure Sales Environment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Assistant Branch Manager  in  Allentown, PA (US)
    Former Employee - Assistant Branch Manager in Allentown, PA (US)

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

    Pros

    Great Benefits. 100% coverage. Decent vacation package.

    Cons

    Management 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 ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Horrible Place to work

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

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Management 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 ManagementAdvice

    Leave.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

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

    Pros

    Great people to work with

    Cons

    Upper management should be more organized with processes

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better organization and communication to all levels of company

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10.  

    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 for 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
  11. 2 people found this helpful  

    Immature

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • 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 full-time for less than a year

    Pros

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

    Cons

    Old 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 ManagementAdvice

    Focus on your direct reports, not your career aspirations

Worked for First Niagara Financial? Contribute to the Community!

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.