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The COVID-19 pandemic has left banks large and small racing to upgrade their digital capabilities as customer demand for seamless, online mobile banking has only grown.
It’s also illustrated the benefits of scale for financial firms as interest rates remain near-rock bottom levels. Some have turned to M&A to bulk up, leading to a resurgence of dealmaking.
M&T Bank is among those firms, announcing in February plans to acquire People’s United Financial in a $7.6 billion, all-stock deal that expands the scope of the banks’ geographic footprint across much of New York and the mid-Atlantic region.
Now, the bank is turning towards its home base of Buffalo to develop the technology and talent that it says is needed to keep pace with some of its biggest competitors.
On Wednesday, the bank unveiled its new, nearly $58 million tech hub in Buffalo — a 330,000 square-foot space across 13 floors of the 38-story Seneca One building in the city’s downtown neighborhood.
The new office launch comes in the midst of M&T’s three-year journey towards more agile, customer-driven tech development that will help the bank roll out more digital tools for its users.
“The pandemic accelerated digital adoption, and technologists will be able to provide digital solutions that will make a difference in our customer’s lives. We realize it’s a race for relevance and need to create an environment, to be competitive, that attracts modern, creative talent,” M&T Bank Chairman and CEO René Jones told Insider via e-mail.
M&T Bank Chief Information Officer Michael Wisler told Insider the opening of the site is a marker in the sand both for M&T and the city of Buffalo.
“We’ve got that size to be big enough to be relevant, but I also think that we’re small enough to be nimble. And I think you can say that of M&T as well as you could about Buffalo,” Wisler said in an interview.
M&T has more than $150 billion in assets, as of the first quarter of this year, and a base of nearly 700 branches across New York and the mid-Atlantic.
Competition for tech talent
With the launch of the tech site comes the opportunity to attract new tech talent in the region. M&T has already brought on more than 400 experienced tech workers and 120 college grads. It ultimately plans to hire more than 1,000 technology specialists over the next three to five years at the Buffalo site.
M&T counts more than 18,000 employees across the bank, 2,000 of whom work in technology, Wisler said.
Smaller banks, from community to mid-sized and regional, face some of the most fierce competition for talent in recent memory as the COVID-19 pandemic spurs investments in digital growth.
“We believe that cities like Buffalo, regions like western New York, are essentially in a race for relevance. And that relevance is for talent. Not just pure software engineers, but creative class talent, not just problem solvers, but problem finders. And you have to create ecosystems that send the right signals and are designed for the right outcomes,” Wisler …read more
Source:: Businessinsider – Finance
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