First Niagara Financial Group in Buffalo, N.Y., has promoted Tom Faughnan to become senior director of its residential mortgage business.

Faughnan, who joined First Niagara as senior vice president of residential lending in 2010, will be responsible for managing day-to-day operations and developing and executing strategic and financial goals. He succeeded Gary Suess, who left the company in July.

Faughnan "has played a pivotal role in formulating and executing on our current strategic initiatives in the Residential Mortgage business," Andy Fornola, First Niagara's managing director of consumer finance, said in a press release Tuesday. "He is the ideal person to help us further our strategy to become a leading residential mortgage lender across our four-state footprint. Tom and his mortgage team will also work closely with our retail banking team to further enhance First Niagara's value proposition to our deposit customers."

Before joining First Niagara, Faughnan was chief executive and director of Home Funding Finders. He has also held senior roles at Coldwell Banker and New York Business Development Group.

First Niagara has been staffing up on lenders in recent months as it searches for a permanent CEO to replace John Koelmel, who was ousted in March as investors and directors questioned his serial acquisition strategy.

The $37 billion-asset company has 447 branches in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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