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M&T Bank Expands Footprint By Acquiring Bank In New England


Syracuse’s largest bank is getting even bigger with the acquisition of a Connecticut based bank that serves the New England region.  M & T Bank’s purchase of People’s United Financial will make it the nation’s 11th largest bank. 

Head of community markets Michael Keegan calls it a coming together of like-minded, community-oriented institutions that date back to the mid-1800’s.  He doesn’t anticipate any impact on the workforce or branches.

"If you think about the markets and how there's very little overlap, it's more of a growth story.  As we talked with People's along the way, this is about how do we come together and how do we grow in those newer communities."

Keegan says M & T will be able to bring its specialty in renewable energy lending to New England, and People’s United will bring its expertise in vendor finance to Upstate New York markets.  He says access to a different geographic area also opens new opportunities.

"If you think about eastern Massachusettes, it's a hotbed for life sciences, it's a hotbed for pharmaceutical development, eds and meds.  What are those things they've learned and have expertise in that they can bring back to Allen Naples and his team in Syracuse to make sure we're offering all the capabilities that that community needs."

Keegan says they’ll continue their commitment to community outside of banking by encouraging employees to volunteer with non-profits and participate in charitable activities.   Meanwhile, Keegan says they continue to play a key role in helping the business community recover from the pandemic.  M and T has administered $7 billion in round one Paycheck Protection Program loans to 35,000 businesses.  He says they’re worried about all their customers, but have a genuine affection for long-time clients.

"We've dealt with these families forever.  So, there's emotional toll if a restaurant doesn't succeed.  There's an emotional toll when you talk to an owner who has to lay off an employee.  There's a tremendous sense of stress that our employees feel because they feel like they're an owner too.  They're experiencing it firsthand in those tough situations."

Keegan says the bank has weathered the pandemic just fine after some initial volatility.  He says their main concern is making sure M & T’s 17,000 employees have felt valued and connected through the pandemic, especially those who’ve been working remotely.