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 READING, Pa., July 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Meridian Bank, the primary banking subsidiary of Meridian Bancorp, Inc., (NASDAQ: MRDN) has received an overall "outstanding" rating on its second public Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) examination conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
 The bank also received an outstanding rating for its fulfillment of CRA requirements on its first exam, completed by the Federal Reserve in 1991.
 Samuel A. McCullough, chairman and CEO of Meridian Bancorp, said, "This reaffirmation of our overall outstanding rating by the Federal Reserve reflects the efforts of the many employees and community leaders who have been part of our Meridian Community Partnership program. We view CRA as an opportunity to participate in the economic development of the communities we serve -- not as a matter of regulatory compliance.
 "We've made an organizational commitment at all levels, from the board room to the local branch, to facilitate access, enhance services, and improve communications to limited income individuals, minority small businesses, people with disabilities, and other traditionally under- served constituents," McCullough said.
 Under the direction of Senior Vice President Nora Mead Brownell, the Meridian Community Partnership was created in 1988 with the assistance and input of community groups, civic and government leaders, service agencies, and community-based developers in Meridian Bank's 16-county market area.
 "We have developed close relationships with many community development agencies, community leaders and organizations during the course of our Partnership activities," Brownell said. "They have been partners in the truest sense, and they deserve our sincerest thanks for their important contributions to our programs and initiatives. With their help, we hope to continue to improve our performance."
 The Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 was enacted to encourage financial institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate. All United States commercial banks and savings and loans are examined by federal regulatory agencies, which in turn assign a public rating of outstanding, satisfactory, needs to improve or substantial noncompliance.
 The ratings are determined by evaluating banks' performance in five categories: ascertainment of community credit needs, marketing and types of credit extended, geographic distribution and record of opening and closing offices, discrimination and other illegal credit practices, and community development.
 The outstanding rating is given when, in the opinion of the examiners, an institution has "an outstanding record of, and is a leader in, ascertaining and helping to meet the credit needs of its entire delineated community, including low- and moderate- income neighborhoods, in a manner consistent with its resources and capabilities."
 According to an article in the April 1993 edition of the Federal Reserve Bulletin, only about 10 percent of examined institutions receive an outstanding rating.
 -0- 7/26/93
 /CONTACT: George Biechler, 215-655-2470, or Bob Shade, 215-655-2463, both of Meridian Bancorp/

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

MK -- PH025 -- 5788 07/26/93 14:49 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 26, 1993

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