M&T Bank reports 325 CT layoffs, plans to cut 333 more jobs

BRIDGEPORT — M&T Bank has laid off 325 employees in Connecticut as part of its acquisition of People’s United Bank, as it plans to cut another 333 positions and hire for about 350 more jobs, the closely watched company revealed in a letter this week to the state attorney. General Guillaume Tong.

The letter, which responds to questions posed by Tong in a Sept. 14 letter to the bank, is one of the most comprehensive updates that M&T, headquartered in Buffalo, New York, provided on its workforce in Connecticut since announcing in July 2021 that, as a result of the $8.3 billion acquisition, it planned to lay off 747 employees in the state, including about 660 based in the People’s United hometown of Bridgeport. When initially announced, the layoffs were condemned by many elected officials, including Tong, who also sent a related letter to M&T in August 2021.

In total, there are 2,373 people employed by M&T in Connecticut, including the 333 who are about to lose their jobs.

“Since we announced our intention to merge with People’s United and named the city of Bridgeport our regional headquarters, we have intended to maintain a significant number of jobs in the city,” said Michael Keegan, vice president M&T Executive and Head of Community Markets. the letter, which was obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media. “For those who may be affected, we have given each employee significant notice and an understanding of the benefits that will be provided to them.”

Responding to an inquiry from Hearst about his reaction to the jobs numbers included in the letter, Tong reiterated in a statement Friday his concerns about the impact of the acquisition on Connecticut-based employees.

“These numbers are disappointing,” Tong said. “Pledges have been made to our state and to the M&T workforce in Connecticut, and I don’t think these numbers live up to that promise, both in terms of the total number of retained workers I think M&T CEO Rene Jones needs to come to Connecticut — to Bridgeport, specifically — to address these issues. I asked for this meeting, and I hope it can be scheduled soon.”

Of the 325 people whose jobs were laid off after the July 2021 announcement, 110 “left on their own, before their jobs were cut,” according to Keegan. The letter did not specify the location of the offices of the terminated employees.

M&T said it would offer laid-off employees benefits ranging from a minimum of 12 weeks’ pay to a maximum of 104 weeks’ pay, depending on seniority.

The remaining 422 employees who were notified of the layoff in July 2021 were still employed by M&T as of the Sept. 26 date of the letter, according to Keegan. Those 422 employees include, however, 333 who “have dates in the future when the job is to be released,” Keegan said. The letter did not specify these dates.

M&T’s layoffs appear to be focused on employees based in offices that don’t serve customers. The letter said the bank would “retain all customer-facing employees at retail branches, including traditional branch employees and Stop and Shop store employees.”

At the same time, 89 of the remaining 422 employees “have been hired into permanent positions at M&T,” Keegan said.

The Connecticut contingent includes 1,117 people based in Bridgeport, “including the Bridgeport Center and our branches,” Keegan said. Bridgeport Center refers to the office tower in downtown Bridgeport, at 850 Main St., which houses the regional headquarters and also served as the base of People’s United.

“Beginning in the summer of 2021, we also met with Bridgeport and Connecticut state officials to discuss the impact of the merger on the community,” Keegan said. “Based on valuable input from local leaders, we are committed to having at least 1,000 employees based out of our regional headquarters in Bridgeport within the first 12 months of conversion. This makes us the largest non-hospital employer of Bridgeport.

As part of its efforts to achieve this goal, M&T held both in-person and virtual job fairs in August, while another job fair is scheduled for October 25 at the Bridgeport Center.

M&T has 346 openings, in many counties, in Connecticut. It has more than 1,000 other openings across its entire footprint “that are not geographically dependent and available to Connecticut residents,” Keegan said.

Employees who worked at People’s United would receive “priority consideration” for open positions, according to M&T officials.
Keegan also responded to a question from Tong about his office hearing complaints that some employees retained by M&T had been “pushed into lower paying positions”.

“This information is inaccurate,” Keegan said. “Nineteen Connecticut employees were offered and subsequently accepted positions deemed not comparable to their positions at People’s United, where the salary offered was lower than the salary of the position they previously held. All of these employees had the option of receiving their severance package or accepting the non-comparable position. These employees have elected to remain with M&T. »

In addition to his criticism of the layoffs, Tong sharply criticized M&T for its handling of this month’s conversion of People’s United accounts to M&T accounts. The change angered and upset many customers who had difficulty accessing accounts or making payments.

“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I want M&T to succeed. I want this merger to work. We have a lot of work to do to make it happen,” said Tong, a Democrat who is in the running. running for re-election this year, added in his statement. “To date, my office has received over 200 complaints about the merger, and we are meeting daily with M&T to resolve these issues. These complaints continue to arrive daily. I will stay informed until these issues are resolved. I know that M&T also wants these issues resolved.

As noted in Keegan’s letter, M&T officials acknowledged that many customers had encountered problems. In response, M&T said it had begun reimbursing customers who incurred late payment charges for credit cards, utilities or other transactions. Additionally, until the end of October, M&T is waiving consumer checking and savings fees and not assessing late fees for consumer loan and mortgage payments.

“We realize that many customers had an experience that was not up to our standards,” Keegan said. “We intend to reach out and apologize to each of them.”

A number of other elected officials are also closely monitoring the impact of the acquisition. Among them, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, called on the Federal Reserve and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate the account issues. On Thursday, Blumenthal and his four Senate colleagues from Massachusetts and Vermont said M&T’s compensation for affected customers was a “welcome step toward making things better.”

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