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NATIONAL COMMUNITY BANKS REPORTS FIRST QUARTER GAIN IN EARNINGS

 NATIONAL COMMUNITY BANKS REPORTS FIRST QUARTER GAIN IN EARNINGS
 WEST PATERSON, N.J., April 17 /PRNewswire/ -- National Community Banks, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCBR) (NCB) today reported that earnings for the first quarter of 1992 improved by 58 percent to $4.755 million or 45 cents per share as compared with $3.003 million or 29 cents per share for the first quarter of 1991.
 Robert M. Kossick, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, stated, "We are especially pleased with NCB's level of 'core earnings', our operating earnings before loan loss provisions, taxes, write-downs and carrying costs related to in-substance foreclosures and other real estate. While earnings remain below past standards due to the weak economy and a higher-than-normal level of troubled loans, we are encouraged to have recently seen what may be the first hints of strengthening in the overall economy."
 Kossick stated further that "National Community's first quarter results reflect a favorable cost-of-funds provided by a strong deposit base, a net interest margin of 5.15 percent, a reduction in the loan loss provision, growth in fee income of 12 percent over the same period last year, and effective cost containment programs. Salaries and other operating expenses remain within budget and total expenses reflect only minimal changes, but for the unusual expenses associated with carrying troubled loans, higher expenses for legal services, and the increased cost of federal deposit insurance premiums."
 Non-performing loans which include non-accruing and restructured loans were $86.7 million at March 31, 1992, versus $112.8 million one year ago. Non-performing assets which include non-performing loans, in- substance foreclosures and other real estate owned totaled $184.7 million at the end of the first quarter of 1992 as compared with $178 million at March 31, 1991 and $188.3 million at year-end 1991. At March 31, 1992, the allowance for possible loan losses stood at $78.4 million and represented 90.4 percent of non-performing loans compared with $80.3 million and 71.2 percent one year ago and $75.8 million and 88.4 percent at Dec. 31, 1991.
 On a year-to-year basis, assets grew 1 percent to $3.925 billion, loans decreased by 15.7 percent to $2.376 billion and deposits gained 2 percent to $3.581 billion at March 31, 1992. Demand deposits and core deposits (consisting of demand, money market, savings and certificates of deposit less than $100,000) as a percentage of total deposits were an excellent 30 percent and 96 percent, respectively, at March 31, 1992, versus 25 percent and 92 percent at the same date last year.
 NCB's capital increased 2.5 percent to $219 million at the end of the first quarter of 1992 versus $213 million at March 31, 1991. The corporation's "leverage capital ratio," and the radio of Tier One capital-to-average quarterly assets, reached 5.61 percent at March 31, 1992 versus 5.40 percent one year ago. As of March 31, 1992, Tier One and combined Tier One and Tier Two risk based capital ratios were 8.39 percent and 9.67 percent, respectively.
 National Community Banks, Inc. serves New Jersey with 115 banking facilities in 13 counties.
 NATIONAL COMMUNITY BANKS, INC.
 Consolidated Financial Highlights
 (In thousands, except per share amounts)
 Quarter ended March 31: 1992 1991 Percent change
 Net income $4,755 $3,003 58.3
 Per share:
 Net income 0.45 0.29 55.2
 Cash dividends declared 0.175 0.35 (50.0)
 Return on average asset
 (as a percent) 0.49 0.30 --
 Return on average equity
 (as a percent) 8.76 5.63 --
 Net interest margin
 (as a percent) 5.15 4.99 --
 At period end: 1992 1991 Percent change
 Assets $3,924,642 $3,886,707 1.0
 Loans 2,376,288 2,818,965 (15.7)
 Allowance for possible
 loan losses 78,369 80,331 (2.4)
 Investment securities 818,243 525,214 55.8
 Deposits 3,581,497 3,506,848 2.1
 Demand Deposits 1,062,972 891,079 19.3
 Core deposits 3,451,556 3,232,059 6.8
 Shareholders' equity 218,521 213,211 2.5
 Book value per share 20.81 20.38 2.1
 Leverage capital ratio
 (as a percent) 5.61 5.40 --
 Tier 1 capital to risk-adjusted
 assets (as a percent) 8.39(A) 7.21(A) --
 Combined Tier 1 and Tier 2
 capital to risk-adjusted
 assets (as a percent) 9.67(A) 8.47(A) --
 Loan Quality
 Non performing loans $86,659 $112,823 (23.2)
 Other real estate (ORE) 94,048 65,171 50.4
 Non-performing assets 184,707 177,994 3.8
 Loans past due 90 days or
 more and accruing 20,271 19,170 5.7
 Allowance for possible loan
 losses as a percent of:
 Loans at period end
 (as a percent) 3.30 2.85 --
 Non-performing loans
 (as a percent) 90.43 71.20 --
 Net charge-offs as a percent
 of average loans 0.58 1.09 --
 As a percent of loans and ORE:
 Non-performing assets 7.46 6.17 --
 Loans past due 90 days or
 more and accruing
 (as a percent) 0.82 0.66 --
 (A) -- Computing using 1992 standards
 -0- 4/17/92
 /CONTACT: Arthur C. Ramirez, (media) first senior vice president, 201-357-7109, or (investors) Anthony J. Franchina, executive vice president and treasurer, 201-357-7106, both of National Community Banks/
 (NCBR) CO: National Community Banks, Inc. ST: New Jersey IN: FIN SU: ERN


AH-TS -- NY012 -- 9688 04/17/92 13:33 EDT
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