“Aston Associates was a natural choice for First Niagara when we were evaluating our opportunities in the midst of the financial crisis. Ever since we partnered with Aston in 2004 to develop our Strategic Blueprint, we have found them to be an invaluable advisor. In 2009, Aston has helped us reevaluate our strategy in light of the changing economic environment; organize our due diligence efforts around two transformative acquisitions combining for 140 branches and $8.3 billion in deposits, and drive the integrations of both of the acquired entities. Aston’s knowledge of the financial services arena; their expertise in evaluating and structuring transactions; and their ability to adapt to the changing environment are absolutely indispensible.”

John Koelmel
Chief Executive Officer
First Niagara Financial Group


“Best Bank has truly delivered, we’ve got a very solid base, and very strong credit quality performance, so those are wonderful assets to start with. Couple that with the differentiated customer service position that we have and staff who love working in St. George… so those are very important ingredients for us going forward.”

Gail Kelly
Chief Executive Officer
St. George Bank Limited

“Aston have the ability to demonstrate-regardless of how efficient or effective your organization is managed-that there is considerable room for improvement. They certainly demonstrated this to our organization, obtaining results that we did not believe possible. Paul Allen and his team are extremely professional and work well with the employees of the organization.”

Oliver W. Wadell
Chariman of the Board
Star Banc Corporation

“[It] was more than just another successful year for First Security, it was a year in which we dramatically improved our focus. Through Project VISION, a corporate-wide design, we enhanced our focus on customers, shareholders, employees and the communities we serve, and begin [next year] as one of the premier financial services companies in the nation.”

Spencer F. Eccles
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
First Security Corporation