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COMMUNITY FIRST BANKSHARES REPORTS RECORD THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS

 FARGO, N.D., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Community First Bankshares, Inc., (NASDAQ: CFBX) today reported record third quarter net income of $2,975,000, an increase of 27.4 percent from last year's $2,329,000. Earnings per share were 38 cents, up 31 percent from 29 cents earned in the third quarter last year.
 "Our focus on community banking and quality customer service continues to result in strong loan growth in our local banks," said Donald R. Mengedoth, president and chief executive officer. "Our loan portfolio increased 23.6 percent over the last year. Excluding acquisitions, loans are up 12.3 percent, reflecting highly focused lending efforts in the communities we serve. Core deposits, excluding acquisitions, grew 3.7 percent.
 "Asset quality, already high, continued to improve during the quarter. Nonperforming assets again declined, and our reserve coverage of nonperforming loans remained high. We continue to anticipate no adverse impact on earnings or asset quality from the weather-related problems which have affected large areas of the midwest.
 "Noninterest income continued to grow, helped mainly by increased insurance commissions, trust revenues and acquisitions."
 Assets at Sept. 30 were $1.2 billion, up from $972 million a year earlier. Deposits expanded to $1.0 billion from $838 million. Loans were $654 million, compared with $530 million a year earlier.
 Nonperforming assets were .31 percent of total assets, compared with .51 percent a year earlier. Annualized net charge-offs were .10 percent of average loans, down from .27 percent a year ago. The allowance for loan losses, at 1.43 percent of loans, increased the reserve coverage of nonperforming loans to 379 percent from 222 percent last year.
 For the nine months, Community First reported net income before cumulative effect of accounting change of $8,332,000, equal to $1.05 per share, compared with $6,959,000, or 85 cents per share, last year. After a credit of $359,000 or 5 cents per share for the cumulative effect of an accounting change, net income for the nine months of 1993 was $8,691,000, equal to $1.10 per share, a 24.4 percent increase over the same period in 1992.
 The company said it expects to complete its acquisition of Rural American Bank of Greenwald (Minn.) on Nov. 1. The $17 million bank, with offices in Greenwald and New Munich, will be merged into Community First State Bank of Paynesville to create a bank with $52 million in assets. Community First continues to pursue an active acquisition program and expects to announce additional acquisitions this year.
 Headquartered in Fargo, Community First Bankshares, Inc., currently serves 32 communities in Colorado, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
 COMMUNITY FIRST BANKSHARES, INC.
 Selected Financial Data
 (In thousands, except per share data)
 Nine months ended Three months ended
 9/30/93 9/30/92 9/30/93 9/30/92
 Net interest income $36,166 $31,704 $12,746 $10,768
 Non interest income 8,477 6,402 3,104 2,325
 Net income before
 cumulative effect of
 accounting change 8,332 6,959 2,975 2,329
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change 359 -- -- --
 Net income $8,691 $6,959 $2,975 $2,329
 Average Balance Sheet Data:
 Assets 1,145,365 975,352 1,206,139 976,416
 Loans 615,428 507,656 650,377 527,377
 Investment securities 425,409 376,775 450,155 364,557
 Deposits 995,214 845,598 1,041,261 841,219
 Common shareholders'
 equity 70,995 67,575 72,297 68,961
 Per Common and Common
 Equivalent Share Data:
 Net income before
 cumulative effect of
 accounting change $1.05 $0.85 $0.38 $0.29
 Cumulative effect of
 accounting change 0.05 -- -- --
 Net income $1.10 $0.85 $0.38 $0.29
 Period end book value 9.75 8.87 -- --
 Common shares
 outstanding 7,609,190 7,763,296 7,609,190 7,763,296
 Average common and
 common equivalent
 shares outstanding 7,905,978 8,142,644 7,839,438 8,146,928
 Financial Ratios:
 Return on average
 assets (pct.) 1.01 0.95 0.98 0.95
 Return on average
 common shareholders'
 equity (pct.) 16.37 13.76 16.33 13.44
 Average common
 shareholders' equity
 to average assets (pct.) 6.20 6.93 5.99 7.06
 Net interest margin (pct.) 4.61 4.76 4.58 4.83
 Annualized net
 charge-offs to
 average loans (pct.) 0.10 0.27 0.06 0.23
 Nonperforming assets to
 total assets (pct.) 0.31 0.51 -- --
 Nonperforming assets to
 period end loans and
 OREO (pct.) 0.56 0.93 -- --
 Allowance for loan losses
 to period end loans (pct.) 1.43 1.48 -- --
 -0- 10/18/93
 /CONTACT: Curt Swenson of Swenson/Falker Associates, 612-371-0000, for Community First; or Donald R. Mengedoth of Community First Bankshares, 701-298-5600/
 (CFBX)


CO: Community First Bankshares, Inc. ST: North Dakota IN: FIN SU: ERN

DB-xx -- MN001 -- 3213 10/18/93 09:13 EDT
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