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MERIDIAN BANCORP CONFIRMS PURCHASE OF BELL FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK FROM RTC

 MERIDIAN BANCORP CONFIRMS PURCHASE
 OF BELL FEDERAL SAVINGS BANK FROM RTC
 READING, Pa., March 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRDN) today confirmed the acceptance of its bid by the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) to purchase approximately $440 million in insured deposits of Bell Federal Savings Bank at a premium of 1.85 percent of deposits, or approximately $8.2 million in cash.
 The announcement was made by Samuel A. McCullough, Meridian's chairman and chief executive officer.
 The 20 Bell branches are located in six counties of southeastern and northeastern Pennsylvania. (See list below.)
 McCullough said, "This transaction is consistent with our acquisition strategy of pursuing in-market opportunities, with low-risk profiles, which will favorably impact our company's earnings."
 All 20 branches of Bell, which was placed in receivership by the Office of Thrift Supervision in March of 991, will open for their normal business hours on Monday, March 23, 1992. A customer hotline has been provided to answer questions about the acquisition. The number is 1-800-742-2235.
 Over the next few months, Meridian will evaluate the Bell branch network to determine those branches which may be consolidated into Meridian Bank's existing branch network and those which may be operated as new Meridian Bank branches. "We believe there is considerable opportunity to consolidate while continuing to fully serve the customers in the respective markets," McCullough stated.
 "This acquisition strengthens our presence in Meridian's existing banking markets, allows us to leverage our current retail banking distribution network and provides natural market extensions," McCullough said.
 The Bell acquisition initially will add 14 branches to the 76 existing Meridian Bank branches in its Delaware Valley Division, which serves the Philadelphia five-county area. A total of five branches will be added to Meridian Bank's 33-branch network in Lehigh and Northampton counties. One branch will be added to Meridian Bank's 27-branch network in Berks County.
 "The Delaware and Lehigh Valleys are very important segments of Meridian's banking franchise in eastern Pennsylvania, as of course is Berks County, and this acquisition further demonstrates our commitment to this region," McCullough emphasized.
 Meridian currently is awaiting regulatory approval to purchase approximately $300 million in deposits of Liberty Savings Bank branches in the Philadelphia five-county area. That transaction was announced on Feb. 3, 1992.
 At year-end 1991, Meridian Bancorp reported $11.3 billion in assets and $9.5 billion in deposits, making it the fourth largest bank holding company headquartered in Pennsylvania.
 Through its banking and financial services subsidiaries, Reading- based Meridian operates nationally with its banking focus in 16 Pennsylvania counties and the state of Delaware.
 A listing of Bell Savings Bank branches, by county, follows:
 BERKS COUNTY
 Shillington
 Shillington Shopping Center
 Lancaster Avenue
 Shillington, Pa. 19607
 BUCKS COUNTY
 Newtown
 2900 S. Eagle Road
 Newtown, Pa. 18940
 Oxford Valley
 100 Oxford Valley Road
 Langhorne, Pa. 19047
 Quakertown
 200 North West End Blvd.
 Quakertown, Pa. 18951
 DELAWARE COUNTY
 Upper Darby
 9 S. 69th St.
 Upper Darby, Pa. 19082
 Wayne
 118 N. Wayne Ave.
 Wayne, Pa. 19087
 LEHIGH COUNTY
 Allentown
 938 Hamilton Mall
 Allentown, Pa. 18101
 Bethlehem
 701 W. Broad St.
 Bethlehem, Pa. 18951
 Mountainville
 497 Wabash St.
 Allentown, Pa. 18103
 Trexlertown
 Trexlertown Mall
 Route 222 and Lower Macungie
 Trexlertown, Pa. 18087
 Whitehall
 1323 Grape St.
 Whitehall, Pa. 18052
 MONTGOMERY COUNTY
 Bala Cynwyd
 25 City Ave.
 Bala Cynwyd, Pa. 19004
 Pottstown
 High and Warren streets
 Pottstown, Pa. 19464
 Wynnewood
 331 E. Lancaster Ave.
 Wynnewood, Pa. 19096
 PHILADELPHIA COUNTY
 Bustleton
 7500 Bustleton Ave.
 Philadelphia, Pa. 19152
 Center City
 230 S. 15th St.
 Philadelphia, Pa. 19102
 Fishtown
 2361 E. Susquehanna Ave.
 Philadelphia, Pa. 19125
 Frankford
 7253 Frankford Ave.
 Philadelphia, Pa. 19135
 Haverford
 7578 Haverford Ave.
 Philadelphia, Pa. 19151
 Penn Center
 Two Penn Center
 15th and JFL Boulevard
 Philadelphia, Pa. 19102
 /delval/
 -0- 3/20/92
 /Editors: McCullough will be available for telephone and in-person interviews from his Center City Philadelphia office from 8 until 10 p.m. today. He can be reached through Meridian's Corporate Communications Department at 215-655-2463, 215-734-3472 or 800-742-2235./
 /CONTACT: Cathy Souders, 215-655-2463, or George E. Biechler, 215-734-3472, or 800-742-2235, both of Meridian; or Howard Brooks of the RTC, 215-734-3200/
 (MRDN) CO: Meridian Bancorp, Inc.; Resolution Trust Corporation ST: Pennsylvania, Delaware IN: FIN SU: TNM


MK-CC -- PH032 -- 0314 03/20/92 21:04 EST
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Date:Mar 20, 1992
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