KeyBank says it plans to retain the financial advisors of the 37 HSBC retail branches in upstate New York that it will acquire in a pending deal.

In a press briefing, Hugh Donlon, northeast regional president for KeyBank, said that his company will keep most of the 300 employees in the 37 branches, all of whom he said were client-facing. “We’re anticipating they will be comfortable here,” he said.

Donlon spoke of the strong cultural fit between the two banks and the opportunity to expand KeyBank’s distribution network and sales force. KeyBank has 200 to 300 advisors nationwide. He noted that the deal will strengthen KeyBank’s presence in the mass affluent market, which had been a strong segment for HSBC.

KeyCorp announced its plans today to buy the HSBC branches from First Niagara Financial Group for about $110 million. First Niagara had to divest branches as a condition of its pending deal to buy the upstate New York base of HSBC Bank USA, according to American Banker, a sister publication to Bank Investment Consultant.

KeyCorp is buying all 26 HSBC branches in Erie, Niagara and Orleans counties that the Justice Department has ordered it to divest, plus 11 other branches in the Rochester area. The deal includes $2.4 billion of deposits.

For the $89 billion-asset Key, the acquisition would significantly strengthen its position in greater Buffalo, where it has the No. 4 deposit share, and Rochester, where it ranks 7th. "This transaction is an exciting opportunity to strengthen our franchise in these attractive markets and, at the same time, build long-term shareholder value," KeyCorp chairman and CEO Beth Mooney, said in a news release.

Margarida Correia writes for Bank Investment Consultant.