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MERIDIAN BANCORP PAYS TRIBUTE TO SIDNEY D. KLINE

 MERIDIAN BANCORP PAYS TRIBUTE TO SIDNEY D. KLINE
 READING, Pa., Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Sidney D. Kline, former


chairman of American Bank and Trust Co. of Pa., a Meridian Bancorp, Inc. predecessor, who was with the company for more than 53 years, died Sunday night. He was 90.
 Kline led American Bank through a period which yielded spectacular growth for the company in an era of increasing competition and merger activity in the Pennsylvania banking industry.
 A firm believer in corporate community involvement, Kline often said he did not want to work in a faceless institution. Under Kline, the bank therefore became committed to industrial development and diversification, civic affairs involving the health, welfare and educational and cultural organizations in the area, and activities aimed at improving government at the local, state and national levels.
 After graduating from Dickinson College and The Dickinson Law School, Kline began his banking career in 1926 with the Mutual Trust Company of Philadelphia. Three years later he joined the Colonial Trust Company, which through merger later became Berks County Trust Company.
 At 42, Kline became Reading's youngest bank president, when he was named head of the company. He had been vice president and head of the bank's trust department. Under his leadership, the bank underwent 19 mergers to eventually become American Bank and Trust Co. of Pa. in 1964.
 Kline's goal for the bank was to serve the total needs of the communities in its trading area, and he believed expansion was the best way to reach that goal. As a result of his efforts, American Bank was one of the top ten commercial banks in the state at the time of his retirement in 1982. This progressive trend of growth paved the way to the formation of Meridian Bancorp, Inc. in 1983.
 Samuel A. McCullough, Meridian's current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, succeeded Kline as CEO of American Bank in 1978. McCullough joined American Bank in 1975 from the much larger Mellon Bank, but he admits to having heard of Kline's reputation long before that.
 "Sid's mark as a banking and business leader in Pennsylvania went far beyond the relatively small size of what was then American Bank," McCullough said. "From the first time I met Sid, I was impressed with his blend of humility and competitive fire. He was a true gentleman, and he also rolled up his sleeves and got things done as a community- minded businessman.
 "We've taken this institution, as Meridian, far beyond what Sid ever imagined," McCullough continued. "His legacy has strongly influenced us along the way and will continue to do so."
 Under Kline's leadership the bank initiated progressive loan policies designed to help new and small businesses and adopted responsive installment credit policies aimed at helping the "man on the street." Thousands of servicemen returning to Berks County after World War II found Berks County Trust Company eager to help them with G.I. loans to buy homes, open businesses, and resume civilian life.
 During Kline's administration a pension funding plan for all officers and employees was approved. Kline worked hard to ensure that officers, employees, directors, stockholders and customers had a personal stake in the banking operation, its profitability, and the economic development of the area it served.
 Sidney D. Kline was born in 1902 in West Reading. His father, Simon S. Kline, and grandfather, Simon Kline, were both well-known businessmen in Reading's brick manufacturing industry. Sid Kline was the first male in a long history who worked outside of that family business, and the first person in that family to seek education after high school. In law school he served as editor-in-chief of the Dickinson Law Review. He completed business courses at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
 When choosing a career after graduation, Kline looked for an interesting profession where his work would help many people. Kline opted for a career in banking, where he believed his legal training would be useful in a policy-making position so he could, in turn, help many others.
 Kline was the founder and president of the Greater Berks Development Fund, which created many jobs and improved the local economic picture of Reading in the 70s. Kline won awards from every major Reading organization for his active and dedicated community involvement efforts. He won the Rotary Club's "Service Above Self" award and in 1973 received the State of Israel's Silver Anniversary Award recognizing his "unselfish contributions to industry, to the betterment of his community, and his consideration for the welfare of his fellow man."
 /delval/
 -0- 9/21/92
 /CONTACT: George E. Biechler of Meridian Bancorp, 215-655-2470/
 (MRDN) CO: Meridian Bancorp, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: FIN SU:


JS -- PH018 -- 1616 09/21/92 11:28 EDT
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Date:Sep 21, 1992
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