First Niagara's CEO, CFO know Philadelphia area well

When one bank wants to buy another, management runs the numbers to be sure the deal makes sense.

But First Niagara Financial Group Inc.’s top managers felt extra good about snapping up Harleysville National Corp. because they’ve spent a fair amount of time in Montgomery County.

CEO John R. Koelmel told analysts that he’s made the trek from upstate New York to Haverford College, which straddles Delaware and Montgomery Counties, a lot over the last four years.

His daughter, Liz, played lacrosse for the Fords for four years. Koelmel mentioned being familiar with the area’s lacrosse fields and “making the rounds through some very prime-time geography,” during the call.

“This is some real nice markets in terms of household income,” Koelmel said.

Michael W. Harrington, chief financial officer of First Niagara, said he grew up in the Harleysville-Lansdale area. He worked in Philadelphia’s banking business, including one year as CFO of Equity Bank, before joining First Niagara in 2003. (Equity Bank is now Susquehanna Patriot Bank.)

“I think I’ve brought a sense of that familiarity to our conversations around this opportunity,” Harrington, 45, told analysts.

New under the sun

Coal may still be king in Pennsylvania, but wind power is growing.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Pennsylvania’s wind energy capacity grew 28 percent during the second quarter.

The total installed wind power capacity in the state is 463 megawatts. For the U.S. as a whole, total installed capacity is 29,400 megawatts.

Texas, by far, is the leader with 8,361 megawatts installed. It is followed by Iowa (3,043 megawatts), California (2,787 megawatts) and Washington (1,575 megawatts).

The association lists four projects now under construction that would add 285 megawatts of capacity to Pennsylvania.

New Jersey? Only 8 megawatts installed so far.