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FIRST ESSEX BANCORP, INC. ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER EARNINGS

 LAWRENCE, Mass., July 19 /PRNewswire/ -- First Essex Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: FESX) announced today net income for the quarter ended June 30, 1993 of $949,000 (or 16 cents per share) compared to net income of $155,000 (or 2 cents per share) for the same period in 1992. The increased net income over the comparative quarter in 1992 was due to higher net interest income of $300,000, and a decline in non-interest expense of $584,000, partially offset by a decrease in non-interest income of $90,000. There were no provisions for possible loan losses in either period.
 Net income for the six months ended June 30, 1993 totaled $1.6 million compared to $210,000 for the same period in 1992. The main reasons for the increase in net income were higher net interest income of $651,000 and a decline in non-interest expense of $1.4 million, partially offset by a decline in gains on sales of securities of $603,000 compared to the same period in 1992.
 At June 30, 1993, non-accruing loans were $14.5 million compared to $23.8 million at June 30, 1992. The allowance for possible losses was $9.6 million at June 30, 1993 (or 66.6 percent of non-accruing loans) compared to $15.1 million (or 63.3 percent of non-accruing loans) at June 30, 1992. Total non-performing assets declined to $27.6 million from $45.9 million at June 30, 1992.
 Leonard A. Wilson, president and chief executive officer, stated: "On July 15, 1993 we began a process to convert the charter of our Massachusetts savings bank to a federal savings bank charter with a view to improving our ability to serve the Massachusetts and New Hampshire border market. A federal savings bank charter will allow us to branch interstate, thereby eliminating a duplicative and costly legal structure and enabling the management of our core business lines to be more effective for the company and our customers. We have continued our progress in reducing non-performing assets, controlling expenses and improved our net income."
 First Essex Bancorp, Inc., is the holding company of First Essex Savings Bank, Lawrence, Mass., and First Essex Bancorp of New Hampshire, Inc., and its subsidiary, First Essex Savings Bank of New Hampshire, Windham, N.H. First Essex Bancorp subsidiaries have nine retail banking offices in northeastern Massachusetts and two offices in southern New Hampshire.
 The company at June 30, 1993 had total assets of $589.4 million and deposits of $392.2 million. Deposits at First Essex Savings Bank in Massachusetts are insured in full by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the Deposit Insurance Fund. Deposits at First Essex Bank of New Hampshire are insured up to the applicable limits by the FDIC.
 FIRST ESSEX BANCORP, INC.
 Consolidated Financial Highlights
 (Unaudited)
 June 30, June 30,
 Balance Sheet Data 1993 1992
 (in thousands)
 Total assets $589,375 $479,350
 Loans, net 274,027 307,097
 Investments 285,853 136,491
 Deposits 392,200 426,323
 Borrowings 136,751 0
 Stockholders' equity 46,243 43,731
 Non-Performing Asset Data
 Non-accrual loans $14,476 $23,793
 Restructured loans 4,147 6,464
 Foreclosed property 9,021 15,654
 Total Non-performing assets $27,644 $45,911
 Book value per share $7.69 $7.27
 Capital-to-assets ratio 7.85 pct 9.12 pct
 Three Months Ended Six Months Ended
 June 30 June 30 June 30 June 30
 1993 1992 1993 1992
 (in thousands)
 Consolidated Operating Earnings
 Interest and dividend
 income $9,319 $9,453 $17,861 $19,730
 Interest expense 4,292 4,726 8,157 10,677
 Net interest income 5,027 4,727 9,704 9,053
 Provision for possible
 loan losses 0 0 0 0
 Net interest income after
 provision for possible
 loan losses 5,027 4,727 9,704 9,053
 Non-interest income:
 Loan fees 115 119 229 236
 Deposit fees 375 328 709 641
 Other 85 250 160 341
 Securities gains 0 7 0 603
 Loan sale gains 110 71 218 105
 Total non-interest income 685 775 1,316 1,926
 Non-interest expense:
 Compensation and
 benefits 1,510 1,553 3,308 3,119
 Equipment and occupancy 590 461 1,268 1,059
 Foreclosed property 1,218 2,077 2,087 4,161
 Other administrative 1,445 1,256 2,733 2,430
 Total non-interest
 expense 4,763 5,347 9,396 10,769
 Income before taxes 949 155 1,624 210
 Income taxes 0 0 0 0
 Net income $949 $155 $1,624 $210
 Net income per share 16 cents 2 cents 27 cents 3 cents
 -0- 7/19/93
 /CONTACT: David W. Dailey or Sametta A. Glass of First Essex Bancorp, 508-681-7500/
 (FESX)


CO: First Essex Bancorp, Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: FIN SU: ERN

DJ -- NE010 -- 3013 07/19/93 11:28 EDT
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Date:Jul 19, 1993
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