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 READING, Pa., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- To mark the second anniversary of the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in January 1992, Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: MRDN), parent company of Meridian Bank, Delaware Trust Company and Meridian Bank, New Jersey, has added customized account statements to its array of specialized services for customers with disabilities.
 In addition to their regular monthly statement, visually impaired customers may request either a large-print statement, cassette tape statement, or Braille statement, at no additional charge. The statements will be prepared by the Philadelphia office of Associated Services for the Blind, which has guaranteed confidentiality of all information contained on clients' statements. The customized statements will be mailed approximately five days after the customer's regular statement is generated.
 Customers may order the special statements by signing a request in any Meridian Bank, Delaware Trust, or Meridian Bank, New Jersey branch. The service is available only to customers who have a visual impairment that prohibits them from using a regular statement.
 Last year at this time Meridian introduced audio-brochures that describe a variety of banking services and products. The audio- brochures are cassette tapes that run approximately 40 minutes and contain information on more than a dozen products and services. The tapes describe checking and savings plans, CDs, IRAs, Meridian Club 50, ATM cards, the Meridian Advantage Check Card, unsecured lines of credit, home equity loans, credit cards, mortgages, discount brokerage services and mutual funds.
 The audio brochures are available through various community groups and associations for the blind, or through Meridian's Advantage Financial Center at 1-800-443-1080.
 Meridian also offers a TDD (telecommunications device for the deaf) service for the hearing impaired. The TDD toll-free number is 1-800-438-5491.
 In August 1991, Meridian announced its plans to convert all automated teller machines (ATMs) to a height that allows access by wheelchair users. This initiative was one of the first of its kind by a major U.S. bank. Currently, more than 70 percent of the ATM locations of Meridian Bank, Delaware Trust and Meridian Bank, New Jersey 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, which trains branch employees to be sensitive to the needs of disabled customers.
 During 1992, Meridian received the Americans with Disabilities Act Award from the Pennsylvania Easter Seal Society for its sensitivity training for employees and for other programs and products promoting accessibility.
 In September 1993, Meridian Bancorp received the 1993 Barrier-free America Award from the National Council for a Barrier-free America (NCBA). NCBA, a non-profit organization helping American communities develop an environment of support for persons with disabilities,

presents the award annually to businesses throughout America that have made exceptional efforts in responding to the needs of the disabled.
 As examples of Meridian's efforts, NCBA cited the company's wheelchair access to automated teller machines, telecommunications devices for the deaf (TDD), product and service information on audio cassettes for the visually impaired, and its disability awareness training course for branch employees.
 Meridian Bancorp, Inc., a $14.1 billion asset banking and financial services holding company, is based in Reading, Pa. Meridian, through its subsidiaries, operates nationally with its current banking focus in 29 Pennsylvania counties, two southern New Jersey counties and the state of Delaware.
 -0- 2/3/94
 /CONTACT: George Biechler, 610-655-2470, or Bob Shade, 610-655-2463, both of Meridian Bancorp/

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

LJ -- PH018 -- 9276 02/03/94 12:02 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 3, 1994

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