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MCCULLOUGH CITES RECORD '91 EARNINGS, STRONG '92 START AT MERIDIAN'S NINTH ANNUAL SHAREHOLDERS' MEETING

 MCCULLOUGH CITES RECORD '91 EARNINGS, STRONG '92 START
 AT MERIDIAN'S NINTH ANNUAL SHAREHOLDERS' MEETING
 READING, Pa., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Citing record earnings in 1991, a strong first quarter start in 1992 and a highly focused strategic plan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Samuel A. McCullough told approximately 600 shareholders attending today's Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRDN) annual meeting in Reading, "The course we have charted over the past 18 months is proving to be a sound one.
 "During that time, management has taken decisive steps to improve Meridian's balance sheet, its capital position and its expense management in addition to strengthening its revenues," McCullough said.
 Meridian's net income topped $100 million for the first time in 1991, at $100.6 million compared to net income of $22.5 million in 1990. On a fully diluted per share basis, Meridian earned $2.40 in 1991 compared to $.55 in 1990.
 First quarter net income for 1992, announced just last week, was $27.1 million, one of the strongest quarters in Meridian's history, compared to $16.8 million for the first quarter of 1991, an increase of 61 percent. Earnings per fully diluted share increased 46 percent to $.60 in the first quarter of 1992 compared to $.41 in the first quarter of 1991.
 A key to Meridian's recent revenue growth, McCullough explained to shareholders, has been the performance of its Financial Services Group, which includes its mortgage banking, asset management and securities operations. The net income of these businesses, collectively, increased by 50 percent from 1990 to 1991 and accounted for 25 percent of Meridian's overall net income in 1991.
 Meridian also has launched several new and profitable products and services in its core business, which is banking. Among these offerings are: the Meridian Advantage Card, an in-supermarket bank branch and in-home computer banking. In February of 1992, Meridian began to offer mutual funds to its customers through its banks and its asset management and securities operations.
 "In our various businesses these days," McCullough told shareholders, "we're not just meeting customers' needs; we're surpassing their expectations through a combination of new technology and old- fashioned customer service."
 During the meeting, shareholders voted to elect seven Meridian directors to three-year terms, ratified KPMG Peat Marwick as Meridian's independent auditors and voted down, for the third straight year, a proposal to provide for cumulative voting in future elections of directors.
 Elected to the Meridian Bancorp Board were: Delight E. Breidegam Jr., Harry Corless, Lawrence R. Karlson, McCullough, Lawrence R. Pugh, George Strawbridge Jr. and Anita Summers.
 McCullough outlined for shareholders Meridian's six-point strategic direction: 1) strengthen capital and capital ratios; 2) improve asset quality and emphasize diversification of risk; 3) shed businesses that do not meet or promise to meet return targets and invest in those businesses that do meet return targets; 4) invest in and further develop profitable fee-based businesses; 5) grow through opportunistic acquisitions that meet return targets; and 6) control costs.
 Of the six strategic points, McCullough acknowledged to shareholders that Meridian's acquisition strategy draws the most attention from banking analysts and other commentators. "In the past five years, we've turned down 20 to 25 acquisition possibilities simply because sellers wanted more money than we were willing to pay, and the transaction involved too much dilution to earnings," he said.
 "We're an $11.6 billion asset institution in a very competitive marketplace in a very competitive industry," McCullough noted. "Do we see ourselves as an acquirer or maybe an acquisition target or maybe a partner in a merger of equals? Yes, yes and yes. We like our options for future development. We're 'option-rich'."
 At this time, however, McCullough told shareholders that Meridian management favors the option of "continuing to grow through acquisitions and through internal expansion of our businesses via market fill-ins or market extensions that are low-risk and that involve little or no dilution to earnings." Cited by McCullough as examples of this type of expansion are Meridian's recent acquisitions of Liberty Savings Bank, Bell Federal Savings Bank and Peoples Bancorp of Lebanon.
 /delval/
 -0- 4/21/92
 /CONTACT: George E. Biechler, 215-655-2470 (Wednesday), or Cathy Souders, 215-655-2463 (Wednesday), both of Meridian Bancorp/
 (MRDN) CO: Meridian Bancorp, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:


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Date:Apr 21, 1992
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