First Niagara’s Chief Credit Officer will be a seasoned, multi-dimensional credit executive with a broad skill set. Specifically, the ideal candidate will have:
Experience leading an overall credit risk function with commercial, consumer and securities portfolios, as well as shared national credits.
Experience managing an organization of similar or larger size in terms of personnel and/or assets, including across multiple locations.
Deep knowledge of commercial real estate; capital markets; and middle-market, small business, commercial and industrial banking, and highly leveraged transactions.
Credit due diligence in M&A transactions including knowledge of SOP 03-3 and credit marks.
Working knowledge of OCC ALLL methodology.
An undergraduate degree in business or accounting is expected; an advanced degree strongly preferred. Critical Competencies for Success
Provide First Niagara’s overall credit risk leadership: The CCO will provide both the intellectual and operational leadership for First Niagara’s focus on quality growth in the lending portfolio. The new chief credit officer will lead a robust, but responsive, credit organization by:
Applying his/her own deep credit and portfolio analysis and management skills.
Nourishing a healthy tension between the line and credit, characterized by mutual respect and a thoughtful interpretation of policies rather than by a “policing” approach and preserving the regional credit structure
Constantly monitoring First Niagara’s credit portfolio for changes from internal and external factors and applying dynamic market pricing to ensure First Niagara’s credit practices allow for growth but are appropriately compensated for risk.
Compelling communicator with professional poise: The CCO will be able to work with and influence a technically astute credit staff, as well as his or her executive peers and board members who will seek insight into the credit strategy and performance, by:
Communicating in accessible, non-technical terms and in a manner that is adaptable across different audiences.
Representing First Niagara’s credit strategy in a range of forums (e.g., risk conferences, board meetings, analyst calls, etc.).
Reporting to the president and chief executive officer, the chief credit officer (“CCO”) will assume the top credit risk management role for the entire bank. As one of the company’s senior-most officers, the CCO will play a critical role in the growth and management of the organization going forward. Leading a credit organization of approximately 55 staff, the CCO will be responsible for developing and leading a credit risk strategy that will facilitate ambitious growth, while still maintaining an appropriate level of portfolio quality. In doing so, the CCO will partner with the company’s front-line, loan-making business units in executing the credit strategy. Other constituencies with which the CCO will be highly visible include the Board, Wall Street, ratings agencies and regulatory entities. This individual will be a member of First Niagara’s management committee and will be located in the company’s headquarters in Buffalo, New York.
Oversees, from a corporate-wide standpoint, all credit-related activities, including policies, management practices, measurement and reporting, credit-related operations, adequate portfolio management, credit approvals, management of special assets, and loan loss provision and reserves;
Is accountable for the overall soundness of all loan portfolios;
Establishes, in conjunction with other executive management, risk appetite(s), underwriting criteria and concentration limits;
Responsible for developing and implementing progressive credit risk management practices;
Reviews and interprets new and pending laws and regulations to ensure training, and communications of bank practices are consistent with credit laws and regulations;
Responsible for developing and monitoring of credit within portfolio limits;
Works with Executive leadership on all issues associated with credit risk management; and
Serves as principal liaison and works closely with external auditors, rating agencies, and regulatory agencies as appropriate.