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MERIDIAN BANCORP MARKS FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT BY MAKING BANKING ACCESS EASIER FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED

 READING, Pa., Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- To mark the first anniversary of the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on Jan. 26, 1992, and as part of its continuing commitment to provide banking access for all customers, Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRDN) today announced an initiative for the visually impaired.
 Audio-brochures describing a variety of banking services and products have been produced and are being distributed to all Meridian Bank and Delaware Trust Company banking divisions and local community groups, including associations for the blind.
 "Each of our customers is critically important to us," said Ezekiel S. Ketchum, president and chief executive officer of Meridian Bank. "Our efforts to provide better access to our products and services for the visually impaired is yet another step in Meridian's commitment to providing barrier-free banking to all customers."
 The audio-brochures are cassettes which run approximately 40 minutes and contain information on more than a dozen Meridian Bank and Delaware Trust Company products and services. Descriptions cover savings and checking plans, CDs, IRAs, Club 50, the Meridian Card, the Meridian Advantage card, unsecured lines of credit, home equity loans, Visa and MasterCard, mortgages, discount brokerage services and mutual funds.
 In addition to access through community groups, the audio-brochures are available by calling Meridian's Advantage Financial Center at 800-443-1080, and several radio reading services for the blind have agreed to discuss and/or air the cassettes on their programs.
 Meridian Bancorp's commitment to customers with disabilities includes projects which enhance access at all levels of banking services. For example, customers can check the status of existing accounts through toll-free telephone access to Meridian and Delaware Trust Customer Information Centers. The Advantage Financial Center enables customers to open deposit accounts and apply for many types of loans by phone. Customers can also bank at home with personal computers and the Advantage Home Banking service available through the Prodigy Network. In addition, Meridian provides a TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) service for the hearing-impaired. The TDD toll- free number is 800-438-5491.
 In August 1991, Meridian announced its plans to convert all automated teller machines (ATMs) to a height that allows access by wheelchair customers. This initiative was one of the first of its kind by a major U.S. bank. Currently, over 60 percent of the ATM locations of Meridian Bank and Delaware Trust meet this standard, and work is underway to complete all conversions by April 1997. In January 1992, Meridian began its "Partners in Equal Access" program to train all of its bank employees to be sensitive to the needs of disabled customers.
 During 1992, Meridian received the American with Disabilities Act Award from the Pennsylvania Easter Seal Society for Meridian's sensitivity training for employees and for other programs and products promoting accessibility.
 During 1993, Meridian plans to introduce Braille and large print statements for Meridian Bank and Delaware Trust checking and savings accounts. Meridian already has introduced Advantage Phone Banking, which allows customers to pay bills with a Touch-Tone phone.
 Meridian Bancorp, Inc., a $12.2 billion asset multi-bank holding company, is based in Reading. Meridian, through banking and non-banking subsidiaries, operates nationally, with its banking focus in 16 Pennsylvania counties and the state of Delaware.
 /delval/
 -0- 1/25/93
 /CONTACT: George Biechler, 215-655-2470, or Bob Shade, 215-655-2463, both of Meridian Bancorp/
 (MRDN)


CO: Meridian Bancorp, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:

MP -- PH030 -- 8624 01/25/93 14:55 EST
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Date:Jan 25, 1993
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