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FIRST ESSEX BANCORP, INC. ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER RESULTS

 FIRST ESSEX BANCORP, INC. ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER RESULTS
 LAWRENCE, Mass., Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- First Essex Bancorp., Inc. (NASDAQ: FESX) announced today net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 1992, of $362,000 (or 6 cents per share) compared to a net loss of $3.2 million (or 54 cents per share) for the same period in 1991. Net interest income before the provision for possible loan losses totaled $4.8 million for the quarter, compared to $3.6 million for the same period in 1991. The major contributors to the improvement in year- to-year quarterly earnings were the higher net interest income of $1.1 million, the lower loan loss provision of $1.8 million and lower expenses related to other real estate owned of $.5 million.
 At Sept. 30, 1992, non-accruing loans were $22.4 million compared to $23.8 million at June 30, 1992. The allowance for possible loan losses was $13.9 million (or 62.2 percent of non-accruing loans) compared to $15.1 million (or 63.4 percent of non-accruing loans) at June 30, 1992. Restructured loans totaled $4.5 million at Sept. 30, 1992, compared to $6.5 million at June 30, 1992. Other real estate owned at Sept. 30, 1992, totaled $14.4 million compared to $15.7 million at June 30, 1992.
 Leonard A. Wilson, president and chief executive officer, commented, "While the region's economy and loan demand continues to languish, the company has continued its steady improvement in net interest income, non-interest income, and expense control. The level of non-accruing loans has continued to decline for the sixth successive quarter and sales of other real estate owned have continued at a strong and encouraging pace. Our capital remains strong at 9.3 percent as of Sept. 30, 1992."
 First Essex Bancorp., Inc. is the holding company of First Essex Savings Bank, Lawrence, Mass., and First Essex Savings Bank of New Hampshire, Windham, N.H. First Essex Bancorp subsidiaries have nine retail banking offices in northern Massachusetts and two offices in southern New Hampshire.
 The company at Sept. 30, 1992, had total assets of $474 million and total deposits of $421 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 of Massachusetts. Deposits at First Essex Savings bank of New Hampshire are insured up to the applicable limits by the FDIC.
 FIRST ESSEX BANCORP, INC.
 Consolidated Financial Highlights
 Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended
 Sept. 30, Sept. 30,
 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Consolidated Operating Results
 (in thousands)
 Interest and dividend income $9,127 $11,111 $28,857 $34,690
 Interest expense 4,340 7,462 15,017 23,826
 Net interest income 4,787 3,649 13,840 10,864
 Provision for possible
 loan losses --- 1,781 --- 7,420
 Net interest income after
 provision for possible
 loan losses 4,787 1,868 13,840 3,444
 Non-interest income
 Loan fees 119 123 355 313
 Deposit fees 319 282 960 748
 Other 90 91 431 274
 Securities gains 10 35 613 182
 Loan sales gains 64 63 169 168
 Gain (loss) on sale of OREO 159 (37) 349 (184)
 Total non-interest income 761 557 2,877 1,501
 Non-interest expense
 Salaries, fees, benefits 1,632 1,627 4,751 4,993
 Equipment and occupancy 594 714 1,653 2,003
 Other real estate owned 1,331 1,823 4,747 4,580
 Other administrative 1,551 1,487 4,916 4,783
 Retail branch write-off 0 0 0 688
 Total non-interest expense 5,108 5,651 16,067 17,047
 Income (loss) before
 income taxes 440 (3,226) 650 (12,102)
 Income taxes 78 0 78 27
 Net income (loss) 362 (3,226) 572 (12,129)
 Net income (loss) per share 6 cents (54 cents) 9 cents $(2.02)
 Balance Sheet Data
 (in thousands)
 Sept. 30, Dec. 31,
 1992 1991
 Total assets $474,145 $510,709
 Loans Net 294,776 353,760
 Investments 145,155 116,944
 Deposits 420,555 449,032
 Borrowings --- 8,999
 Stockholders' equity 44,093 43,103
 Book Value Per Share $7.33 $7.17
 Capital to Asset Ratio 9.30 pct 8.44 pct
 -0- 10/16/92
 /CONTACT: David W. Dailey of First Essex Bancorp, 508-681-7500/
 (FESX) CO: First Essex Bancorp, Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: FIN SU: ERN


TM -- NE008 -- 1026 10/16/92 14:23 EDT
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Date:Oct 16, 1992
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