Cantara has led First Niagara's Commercial Services Group since 2007, and its financial services businesses, including insurance, benefits consulting and wealth management, since 2001, when he first joined the company. Under his leadership, the company's commercial lending business has established itself as a top regional franchise, with industry leading growth and performance. Prior to joining First Niagara, Cantara spent more than 20 years in public accounting, including eight with Price Waterhouse and 12 as the managing partner of a regional accounting firm he co-founded.

A lifelong resident of Western New York, Cantara is active in the community, and serves on multiple boards, including the Albright Knox Art Gallery, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, the Richardson Olmstead Complex, and is former Chair of Artpark & Company.   He is also a member of the University at Buffalo School of Management Dean's Advisory Council, the Buck Institute Advisory Council and the Dean's International Council at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago.

He earned his bachelor's degree in accounting and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. 

About First Niagara

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank with approximately 430 branches, $36 billion in assets, $28 billion in deposits, and approximately 6,000 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.firstniagara.com .
CONTACT: Investors:         Ram Shankar         Senior Vice President, Investor Relations         (716) 270-8623         ram.shankar@fnfg.com 	         News Media:         Jodi Johnston         Director, Corporate Media Relations         (716) 515-8762         jodi.johnston@fnfg.com

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