M&T Bank Corp. and People’s United Financial Inc. have issued an update on their pending merger, promising that it will retain “nearly 80% of People’s United team members overall, including almost all customer-facing employees.”
The announcement came on the heels of reports yesterday that 747 People’s United workers in Connecticut would be losing their jobs as a result of the merger.
That news was greeted with alarm by high-profile lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut), who issued a statement saying: “I am demanding additional information from the banks and considering seeking federal and state regulatory action. Bank mergers already have taken a toll on jobs and competition in Connecticut and nationwide.”
M&T reiterated that People’s United’s headquarters in Bridgeport will become the New England regional headquarters for M&T, “further strengthening the combined company’s commitment to Connecticut and the region. Bridgeport will be a hub for many types of positions and bank activity, positioning the community for significant economic and job growth over time.”
M&T said it also “will be retaining substantially all People’s United branch employees, including those who work in the Stop & Shop branches.”
“The combination of M&T and People’s United’s is a unique opportunity to create a new organization that will strengthen our ability to serve our combined communities and customers, and provide solutions that make a difference in people’s lives,” said René Jones, chairman and CEO of M&T, who will lead the combined company in the same capacity.
“Since announcing the merger agreement, we have benefited from hearing the perspectives of the many leaders and constituents in our communities to ensure that our plans are informed by their views,” Jones said. “We look forward to developing long-lasting and meaningful relationships in our new communities, like those that we have across our footprint today, to provide significant long-term value.”
M&T, which is based in Buffalo, said there are over 1,500 open job positions across the combined footprint, and that People’s United employees “will receive priority consideration and support for hybrid and remote work. All affected employees will receive severance benefits including career transition assistance.”
Jeffrey Tengel, president of People’s United who will serve as an executive vice president of the combined company and the most senior executive based in Bridgeport, said that, “In any merger, there are always difficult steps to take as you finalize workforce needs for the combined organization. M&T has taken a thoughtful and empathetic view on every one of these decisions, assessing talent at the individual level to lessen impact.
“We will continue to do everything we can to support employees, both affected and unaffected, throughout this transition,” Tengel said. “We are confident we will be able to position the combined company so that we can deliver the services our customers need, where they need it, while retaining a significant number of jobs and opportunities for growth.”
The majority of the job cuts will take place in 2022.
The merger, which was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company, was announced in February as an all-stock deal valued at more than $7 billion. It is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.