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FIRST EASTERN ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS; FORMAL AGREEMENT SIGNED WITH THE OCC

 FIRST EASTERN ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS;
 FORMAL AGREEMENT SIGNED WITH THE OCC
 WILKES-BARRE, Pa., April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- First Eastern Corp. (NASDAQ: FEBC) today announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 1992.
 The corporation reported a loss of approximately $6.7 million ($.66 per share) for the quarter. This compares to net earnings of $3.1 million ($.31 per share) for the same period in the previous year, and a loss of $34.3 million ($3.40 per share) for all of 1991.
 In announcing these results, Richard M. Ross Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of First Eastern Corp., said, "While these results are disappointing, they are not unexpected. We have conducted an exhaustive review of our loan portfolio and believe that additional provisions to our allowance for loan loss were appropriate in light of current economic conditions. We do not anticipate a rapid recovery in the area's economy and feel that it is prudent to be conservative in the valuation of our loan portfolio at this time." During the quarter, First Eastern added $18.5 million to its allowance for loan loss, bringing its allowance for possible loan losses to 4.1 percent of total loans.
 This compares to 3.7 percent as of Dec. 31, 1991, and 2.1 percent for the first quarter of 1991. This increased the allowance as a percentage of nonperforming loans from 54 percent at March 31, 1991, to 78 percent at March 31, 1992.
 Net interest income was $24.5 million for the quarter, relatively unchanged from fourth quarter 1991 and a 3 percent decrease from the first quarter of 1991. During the period, the corporation's net interest margin increased to 3.98 percent, from 3.89 percent reported for the same quarter of 1991. Non-interest income (exclusive of securities gains) remained stable during the first quarter as did non- interest expense. "Our fundamental earnings remain strong," said Ross. "We continue to experience profitable growth in our core businesses and our capital remains above regulatory minimums. Although we do not expect to return to our historically high levels of performance over the short term, we believe we have identified many of the corrective actions necessary to return the corporation to profitability."
 Total deposits averaged more than $2.4 billion for the first quarter of 1992, a decrease from the $2.6 billion reported for the period ended March 31, 1991. Virtually all of this decline is attributable to a planned effort to reduce the level of large denomination national program certificates of deposit. On March 31, First Eastern Bank, N.A. consummated its merger with Peoples First National Bank of Hazleton. "Our liquidity and customer base remain strong," said Ross. "The merger of Peoples First National Bank of Hazleton into First Eastern Bank has increased our ability to serve our customers more conveniently than ever before." With the merger, First Eastern Bank now operates 60 branch offices.
 First Eastern also announced that it has signed a formal agreement with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and expects to sign a similar agreement with the Federal Reserve. The substance of the agreement with the OCC has been disclosed previously. "Management, along with the board of directors, has worked hard over the past few months to implement a number of new policies and procedures to modify our lending practices and improve the quality of our loan portfolio. These efforts are having positive results and address directly the concerns raised by the OCC in the formal agreement. We are optimistic for the future and look forward to continuing improvement," said Ross.
 First Eastern Corp. is a bank holding company headquartered in Wilkes-Barre. As of March 31, 1992, the corporation reported total assets approximating $2.8 billion. Its principal subsidiary, First Eastern Bank, N.A. serves the northeastern Pennsylvania market through 60 offices. The corporation also operates a number of other subsidiary companies including First Eastern Equipment Leasing, First Eastern Brokerage Services, Dolphin & Bradbury Inc., First Eastern Investment Co., First Eastern Life Insurance Co., and First Eastern Realty Inc.
 FIRST EASTERN CORP.
 (Dollars in thousands except per share)
 Quarter ended March 31 1992 1991
 Net income (loss) ($6,666) $3,147
 Earnings per common share ($.66) $.31
 Weighted average common shares 10,133,992 10,031,307
 /delval/
 -0- 4/9/92
 /CONTACT: John W. Adonizio, treasurer of First Eastern Corp., 717-821-4420/
 (FEBC) CO: First Eastern Corp. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU: ERN


KA -- PH035 -- 6934 04/09/92 16:32 EDT
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Date:Apr 9, 1992
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