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FIRST ESSEX BANCORP, INC. ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER EARNINGS

 LAWRENCE, Mass., Oct. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- First Essex Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: FESX) announced today net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 1993 of $1.2 million (or 20 cents per share) compared to a net income of $362,000 (or 6 cents per share) for the same period in 1992. The increased net income over the comparative quarter in 1992 was mostly due to higher net interest income of $110,000 and a decline in non-interest expense of $512,000. There were no provisions for possible loan losses in either period.
 Net income for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993 totaled $2.8 million compared to $572,000 for the same period in 1992. The main reasons for the increase in net income were higher net interest income of $761,000 and a decline in non-interest expense of $1.9 million partially offset by a decline in gains on sales of securities of $605,000 compared to the same period in 1992.
 At Sept. 30, 1993 non-accruing loans were $14.2 million compared to $22.4 million at Sept. 30, 1992. The allowance for possible losses was $9.2 million at Sept. 30, 1993 (or 64.9 percent of non-accruing loans) compared to $13.9 million (or 62.2 percent of non-accruing loans) at Sept. 30, 1992. Total non-performing assets declined to $25.8 million from $41.2 million at Sept. 30, 1992.
 Leonard A. Wilson, president and chief executive officer, stated: "First Essex has continued to show a consistent pattern of increasing income. Our focus on reducing non-performing assets, controlling expenses and improving revenues is paying off. On Sept. 16, 1993 First Essex reinstated its quarterly dividend and declared a dividend of 5 cents per share. The faithful shareholders of First Essex will now begin to be rewarded for their patience and faith in the company."
 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 Sept. 30, 1993 has total assets of $578.2 million and deposits of $391.9 million. Deposits at First Essex Savings Bank of Massachusetts are insured in full by the Federal Deposit Insurance Fund (FDIC) and the Depositors 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)
 For the Three Months Ended
 Sept. 30, Sept. 30,
 1993 1992
 (in thousands)
 Interest and dividend income $9,205 $9,127
 Interest expense 4,308 4,340
 Net interest income 4,897 4,787
 Provision for possible loan losses 0 0
 Net interest income after
 provision for possible
 loan losses 4,897 4,787
 Non-interest income:
 Loan fees 101 119
 Deposit fees 374 319
 Other 104 90
 Security gains 0 2
 Loan gains 183 72
 Total non-interest income 762 602
 Non-interest expense:
 Compensation and benefits 1,744 1,632
 Equipment and occupancy 623 594
 Foreclosed property 748 1,172
 Other administrative 1,322 1,551
 Total non-interest expense 4,437 4,949
 Income before taxes 1,222 440
 Income taxes 0 78
 Net income $1,222 $362
 Earnings per share 20 cents 6 cents
 For the Nine Months Ended
 Sept. 30, Sept. 30,
 1993 1992
 (in thousands)
 Interest and dividend income $27,066 $28,857
 Interest expense 12,645 15,017
 Net interest income 14,601 13,840
 Provision for possible loan losses 0 0
 Net interest income after
 provision for possible
 loan losses 14,601 13,840
 Non-interest income:
 Loan fees 330 355
 Deposit fees 1,083 960
 Other 264 431
 Security gains 0 605
 Loan gains 401 177
 Total non-interest income 2,078 2,528
 Non-interest expense:
 Compensation and benefits 5,052 4,751
 Equipment and occupancy 1,891 1,653
 Foreclosed property 2,835 4,398
 Other administrative 4,055 4,916
 Total non-interest expense 13,833 15,718
 Income before taxes 2,846 650
 Income taxes 0 78
 Net income $2,846 $572
 Earnings per share 47 cents 9 cents
 Sept. 30, Sept. 30,
 Balance Sheet Data 1993 1992
 (in thousands)
 Total assets $578,227 $474,145
 Loans, net 274,414 294,776
 Investments 274,454 145,155
 Deposits 391,941 420,555
 Borrowings 129,866 0
 Stockholders' equity 47,164 44,093
 Non-Performing Asset Data
 Non-accrual loans 14,196 22,385
 Restructured loans 4,128 4,464
 Foreclosed property 7,482 14,350
 Total non-performing assets 25,806 41,199
 Book value per share $7.84 $7.33
 Capital-to-asset ratio 8.16 pct 9.30 pct
 -0- 10/21/93
 /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-CM -- NE007 -- 5100 10/21/93 10:56 EDT
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Date:Oct 21, 1993
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