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NEW MANAGEMENT AT ESSEX FINANCIAL PARTNERS, L.P., FILES CAPITAL PLAN WITH THRIFT BANKING REGULATOR

NEW MANAGEMENT AT ESSEX FINANCIAL PARTNERS, L.P., FILES CAPITAL PLAN
 WITH THRIFT BANKING REGULATOR
 VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., July 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Gene D. Ross, the recently appointed chairman and chief executive officer of Essex Bancorp, Inc., a savings bank holding company with thrifts located in North Carolina, Virginia and Florida, announced that Essex Savings Bank, Inc., its North Carolina insured institution, has recently filed a capital plan with its primary banking regulator.
 The capital plan calls for the conversion of the North Carolina thrift, which fails to meet two of the three regulatory capital requirements, from a state to a federal charter and the merger of the Virginia and Florida thrifts into the North Carolina thrift.
 According to Ross: "Merging the three thrifts is expected to return the North Carolina thrift to full capital compliance within six to 12 months, will allow for significant operating cost savings, and will simplify Essex's unnecessarily complex organizational structure. While the capital plan is subject to regulatory and boards of directors' approval, initial discussions with the thrift regulators concerning our plan have been positive, and we will file the merger applications shortly."
 Essex's annual regulatory examination for 1992 was recently completed. A reserve adjustment of approximately $330,000 was indicated as necessary by the regulators and will be reflected in Essex's second quarter results, which will be released prior to Aug. 15, 1992. By comparison, reserve adjustments of over $3 million were taken in 1991 after the regulatory examination.
 Essex may take additional reserves during the second quarter as a result of the loan portfolio analysis new management is conducting. Management's intention is for Essex Bancorp to be in a position after the second quarter to recognize only normalized levels of loan loss reserves in the future.
 Management has also taken several other steps to minimize further loan problems: 1) no new commitments to make residential construction loans of a speculative nature or commercial loans will be made; 2) credit standards on single-family mortgage originations have been tightened; and 3) the trend away from second mortgages towards investment grade, first mortgages has been accelerated.
 According to Ross: "The trends in Essex's mortgage delinquencies since Jan. 1, 1992 have been positive. While our level of non- performing mortgage loans is much too high, our collections and asset management people have undertaken new initiatives to significantly reduce these non-performing assets over the next 12 months. This will improve our net interest income and reduce operating expenses."
 Essex Bancorp has also made further changes in its management team during the second quarter. James T. Davis Jr. and Timothy F. Miller, president and executive vice president/operations of Essex Savings Bank - North Carolina, respectively, both recently indicated their intent to resign to pursue other interests. Effective Sept. 1, 1992, and subject to regulatory approval, G. Wilson Thomas II, formerly a senior official of Essex Bancorp's mortgage servicing and mortgage banking subsidiaries, will become president and chief operating officer of Essex Savings Bank. Earl C. McPherson, an experienced mortgage banker, was hired as president of Essex First Mortgage.
 Essex Financial Partners, L.P. (AMEX: ESX), expects to report a loss when it announces its second quarter 1992 results. According to Ross: "New management is working diligently to restore the partnership to sustainable core profitability. Essex could return to profitability as early as year-end 1992; however, such achievement is dependent upon favorable market conditions and the elimination of certain redundant costs following regulatory approval of the merger. The cost structure is already trending down and the merger of our three thrifts will make Essex a much stronger institution. Essex possesses an excellent franchise with a strong and loyal deposit base."
 -0- 7/15/92
 /CONTACT: Lisa Nasis, Investor Relations, Essex Financial Partners, L.P., 800-274-9900, ext. 605/
 (ESX) CO: Essex Financial Partners, L.P.; Essex Savings Bank, Inc.; Essex
 Bancorp, Inc. ST: Virginia, North Carolina IN: FIN SU:


DC -- DC004 -- 9499 07/15/92 11:20 EDT
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Date:Jul 15, 1992
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