There's a lot more clarity in the air following the July 31 announcement that First Niagara Financial Group Inc. plans to buy 195 retail branches from HSBC Bank USA N.A. for $1 billion in cash.
Now we know:
• The intended buyer of the franchise – which includes 183 branches in Upstate New York, six branches north of New York City and six branches in Connecticut – and the $15 billion in deposits held by those branches.
• The general timeline of the transaction, expected to wrap in early 2012, pending regulatory approvals.
• That First Niagara plans to sell or shut down some of the acquired branches to save money and....