August 28, 2017

KeyBank sees commercial lending growth in CT

Q&A talks with Jeff Hubbard, KeyBank Connecticut and western Massachusetts market president.

Q: KeyBank entered the Connecticut market last year after acquiring First Niagara Financial Corp. for $3.7 billon. What changes has KeyBank made since it entered the Connecticut market?

A: KeyBank acquired a strong existing customer base from First Niagara and has built on these relationships since entering the market. We are now one of the top regional banks in the nation, and with that comes a bigger balance sheet and a more robust suite of financial services and products.

Those include enhanced digital offerings such as new personal financial wellness tools for our retail customers, and advanced cash management services for business customers. We've been able to upgrade our online services, increase service capabilities in our branch offices, and add new jobs in our commercial banking, private banking, mortgage and insurance businesses.

Q: What's KeyBank's biggest opportunity in Connecticut? What's its biggest challenge?

A: Commercial banking is a big opportunity for Key in Connecticut. In the last year, we've had significant growth in our middle market and small business portfolios both from building on our existing customer base and establishing new commercial relationships. While Connecticut's sluggish business climate continues to be a challenge, there are many strong and growing companies that call Connecticut home, and we see great opportunity to bring them to Key.

Q: Connecticut is a small market with a lot of different banks. Some have argued CT is overbanked. How can a new bank to the market make itself standout?

A: In a competitive market, differentiation is all about values, relationships and having the resources to deliver on your promises.

For our retail customers that means we are not selling banking products and services; we're helping them build more confident financial lives. Key's Financial Wellness program combines high-tech personal finance software with experienced bankers who have the insight and expertise to help customers make confident financial decisions to achieve their goals.

On the commercial side, we view ourselves as trusted business partners helping to transform the way our commercial customers manage and grow their businesses. We have enhanced cash management technology and risk management tools to help companies streamline costs, drive efficiency, and secure their financial processes. Moreover, we can bring Key's full-service corporate and investment banking capabilities to middle market companies, providing a wide range of services and expertise that many other local banks do not have.

But at the end of the day, I believe our competitive advantage is this: We do what's right and what's best for our clients and communities. The investment we're making in this region, and in all the other regions we serve, is not just about building a bigger bank — it is about building a betterbank — for our customers, employees, shareholders and communities.

Q: One reason First Niagara said it was searching for a merger was because it needed more money to invest in technology. What tech investments have you made in CT, or do you plan to make?

A: As a result of the acquisition, we benefited from Key's upgraded platforms and transferred customers to Key's more sophisticated banking technology. On the commercial side, we introduced the Key Total Treasury tool to our Connecticut customers. It is a treasury management system, which helps a business manage its treasury processes. It also helps customers organize and implement cash, payable, receivable, and reporting strategies with one central web-based portal. Additionally, it can be fully integrated with internal finance functions such as investment management and accounts payable and receivables.

KeyBank recently acquired HelloWallet, a personal finance platform that we had an exclusive relationship with previously. It provides customers with online and digital tools that give a real-time, complete snapshot of their finances and enables them to create budgets, plan for major purchases and life events, and track changes in their finances. Using HelloWallet and guidance from Key bankers, customers can assess and improve their financial health.

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