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FIRST WESTERN BANCORP INC. ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER 1992 EARNINGS

FIRST WESTERN BANCORP INC. ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER 1992 EARNINGS
 NEW CASTLE, Pa., July 17 /PRNewswire/ -- First Western Bancorp Inc. (NASDAQ: FWBI) today announced earnings for the quarter ended June 30, 1992, of $3,067,000 or $0.63 per share, an increase of 45.4 percent over earnings of $2,109,000 or $0.53 per share for the same period in 1991.
 For comparison purposes, earnings for the first quarter of 1992 were $2,554,000, or $0.64 per share. Earnings per share, reflecting the April 9, 1992, completion of an 862,500 share secondary common stock offering, increased by 18.9 percent. As a result of the offering, which provided net proceeds of approximately $15.6 million, total shares outstanding as of June 30, 1992, were 4,857,000.
 For the six months ended June 30, 1992, net income was $5,621,000, an increase of 38.1 percent over net income of $4,071,000 for the same period in 1991. Earnings per share for the six months ended June 30, 1992, were $1.26, as compared to $1.02 for the same six-month period in 1991, representing an increase of 23.5 percent. The per share performance in the first six months of 1992 was the highest in the company's history.
 Earnings in the second quarter of 1992 continued to be favorably impacted by a 37.6 percent increase in net interest income, from $8,651,000 for the second quarter of 1991 to $11,900,000 for the second quarter of 1992. For comparison purposes, net interest income for the three months ended March 31, 1992, was $11,218,000. The tax-equivalent net interest margin for the second quarter was 4.55 percent, as compared to last year's 4.20 percent, and the 1992 first quarterly 4.41 percent. The growth in net interest income and margin was primarily due to the acquisition of seven former Colony Federal Savings Bank branches and a continued reduction in interest rates on deposits. On a year-to-date basis, net interest income was $23,118,000, up 36.9 percent from last year's $16,886,000.
 Other expenses increased from $6,744,000 in the second quarter of 1991 to $8,423,000 in the comparable period in 1992. For the six months ended June 30, 1992, other expenses were $16,955,000 compared to $13,018,000 in the 1991 comparable period. The increase in other expenses in each period are primarily attributable to the acquisition of the Colony branches, increased FDIC insurance premiums and normal staff salary and benefit increases. Other expenses in the 1992 first quarter were $8,532,000.
 Other income, up 25.1 percent from 1991's second quarter $1,409,000 to this year's $1,762,000, was impacted by an improved service charge fee schedule on deposits, fees on the increase in deposits from Colony and significantly increased credit card program fees reflecting higher outstandings. In addition, securities gains were $108,000 this year compared to $14,000 last year.
 The provision for possible loan losses in the second quarter was $861,000 as compared to $411,000 last year and $732,000 in the first quarter of 1992. On a year-to-date basis the provision increased from $945,000 in 1991's first six months to $1,593,000 this year. The provision increased primarily due to an increase in net chargeoffs, a higher level of nonaccrual loans and growth in total loans outstanding. Nonaccrual loans were $4.4 million at June 30, 1992, as compared to $2.6 million at June 30, 1991 and $3.5 million at March 31, 1992. Nonaccrual loans as a percent of total loans was 0.61 percent at June 30, 1992, well below the peer group average of over 2.0 percent as of the latest available date. Nonperforming assets (nonaccrual loans plus real estate owned) totaled $5.6 million at June 30, 1992, representing 0.78 percent of total loans plus real estate owned, compared to $4.9 million at March 31, 1992 (0.70 percent), and $4.2 million last year (0.74 percent). The most recent peer group average for nonperforming assets was in excess of 3.5 percent. First Western's coverage of nonaccrual loans by the allowance for possible loan losses was 220 percent at June 30, 1992.
 Total assets of the company at June 30, 1992, stood at $1.16 billion as compared to $1.09 billion at Dec. 31, 1991, a 6.4 percent increase, and $907 million at June 30, 1991, before the Colony acquisition. At June 30, 1992, deposits remained constant with the balance at Dec. 31, 1991, primarily due to the sale of two former Colony branches in the first quarter of 1992.
 The increase in shareholders' equity from $62.2 million at year-end to $81.9 million at June 30, 1992, resulting from the common stock offering and retained earnings, improved the Tier 1 leverage ratio from 5.60 percent at Dec. 31, 1991, to 7.04 percent. Book value per common share was $16.86 at June 30, 1992, compared to $15.58 at Dec. 31, 1991. Return on average assets improved significantly to 1.01 percent year-to-date, on an annualized basis, as compared to 0.91 percent last year at this time, and 1.09 percent for the second quarter of 1992. Return on average equity for the six-month period was 16.00 percent compared to 14.30 percent last year.
 First Western Bancorp Inc., a multi-bank holding company headquartered in New Castle, is the parent of First National Bank of Western Pennsylvania, Beaver Trust Co., First Federal of Western Pennsylvania and First Western Trust Services Co., with 36 branch banking offices located in seven western Pennsylvania counties and one northeastern Ohio county.
 FIRST WESTERN BANCORP INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
 Selected Financial Data
 (In thousands, except per share amounts; unaudited)
 Period Ended Six Months Three Months
 June 30 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Summary of earnings:
 Interest income $47,961 $41,782 $24,069 $21,000
 Interest expense 24,843 24,896 12,169 12,349
 Net interest income 23,118 16,886 11,900 8,651
 Provision for possible
 loan losses 1,593 945 861 411
 Net int. inc. after prov.
 for possible loan losses 21,525 15,941 11,039 8,240
 Other income 3,500 2,788 1,762 1,408
 Other expenses 16,955 13,018 8,423 6,743
 Income before income taxes 8,070 5,711 4,378 2,905
 Income tax expense 2,449 1,640 1,311 796
 Net income 5,621 4,071 3,067 2,109
 Per share data (A):
 Earnings per share $1.26 $1.02 $0.63 $0.53
 Dividends per share $0.37 $0.35 $0.18 $0.17
 Average shares outstanding 4,453 3,995 4,847 3,995
 Book value per share
 (period end) $16.86 $15.58 -- --
 Balance Sheet Data 6/30/92 12/31/91 6/30/91
 (Totals at end of period)
 Assets $1,162,736 $1,087,752 $907,724
 Investment securities 391,073 350,140 288,985
 Loans, net of unearned income 709,000 684,369 566,032
 Allowance for possible
 loan losses 9,646 8,876 7,433
 Deposits 936,294 933,554 764,150
 Long-term debt 13,920 14,221 14,608
 Shareholders' equity 81,872 62,243 59,149
 Significant Ratios Six Months Ended
 June 30, 1992 June 30, 1991
 Return on average assets 1.01 pct. 0.91 pct.
 Return on average equity 16.00 14.30
 Average loans as a percent
 of average deposits 75.15 74.09
 Shareholders' equity as a percent
 of period-end assets 7.04 6.52
 Tier 1 leverage ratio 6.94 6.35
 Allowance for possible loan losses
 as a percent of net loans 1.36 1.31
 Net chargeoffs as a percent of
 average loans 0.24 0.14
 Dividends as a pct. of net inc. 29.01 34.27
 Net interest margin 4.48 4.15
 Effective tax rate 30.35 28.72
 (A) All per share amounts have been restated to reflect the effect of a three-for-two stock split paid on Feb. 18, 1992.
 -0- 7/17/92
 /CONTACT: Robert H. Young, senior v-p of finance, secretary and treasurer of First Western Bancorp, 412-652-8550, ext. 137/
 (FWBI) CO: First Western Bancorp Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU: ERN


DM -- PG005 -- 0223 07/17/92 11:45 EDT
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