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VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP AND PEOPLES BANCORP AGREE TO MERGE

 VALLEY NATIONAL BANCORP AND PEOPLES BANCORP AGREE TO MERGE
 WAYNE, N.J., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Valley National Bancorp


(NASDAQ: VNBP), Wayne, which operates 53 branches in five northern New Jersey counties, and the seven-branch Peoples BanCorp, Fairfield, N.J., have announced an agreement to merge.
 The agreement was announced jointly by Valley National Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gerald H. Lipkin and Peoples Chairman S. Thomas Aitken.
 Shareholders of Peoples will receive .625 (5/8) shares of Valley stock for each share of Peoples stock they own. Peoples has approximately 640,000 shares outstanding and Valley will issue approximately 430,000 shares in connection with the transaction.
 "The addition of Peoples to the Valley National system is consistent with the strategy we have adopted for our continued growth -- that being growth through the acquisition of other banking institutions within our general market area," Lipkin said. "Its 71-year history as a community bank made Peoples an ideal candidate to help Valley enhance its branch network."
 Since December 1990, Valley National's program of expansion by acquisition has added 26 offices to the bank.
 Valley National has been recognized as among the best performing banking institutions in the nation. With $3.1 billion in assets, the bank earned $10.6 million during the third quarter of 1992, an increase of 47 percent over the $7.2 million reported during the third quarter of 1991.
 During the first nine months of 1992, Valley earned $31.5 million, 44 percent above the $21.9 million earned during the comparable 1991 period.
 With a return on average assets of 1.45 percent and a return on average equity of 20.4 percent for the nine month period, Valley again placed in the upper percentages of banking institutions nationwide.
 Valley's 53 branches are located in 33 communities in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris and Passaic counties.
 Founded in 1921 as Peoples National Bank of Belleville, Peoples BanCorp has assets of $210 million. Its branches -- three of which are located in Belleville, two in Bloomfield, one in North Caldwell and one in Fairfield (also the BanCorp headquarters) -- will enhance Valley's service in Essex County.
 The announced merger requires approval from the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve and is subject to the signing of a definitive agreement and the approval of Peoples shareholders. In connection with this transaction, Peoples has granted to Valley an option to purchase 150,000 shares of Peoples stock.
 Valley National Bancorp is traded on the NASDAQ (Symbol: VNBP).
 -0- 11/9/92
 /CONTACT: Ilene Manahan of Marcus Group, 201-902-9000, for Valley National Bancorp/
 (VNBP) CO: Valley National Bancorp; Peoples BanCorp ST: New Jersey IN: FIN SU: TNM


SH -- NY023 -- 8548 11/09/92 09:18 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 9, 1992
Words:454
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