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Citizens Gets Commonwealth Bancorp

September 30, 2002

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Citizens Financial Group Inc. said Monday it will acquire Commonwealth Bancorp Inc. for $450 million.

The purchase, for or $46.50 per share, is expected to be completed in January.

Commonwealth Bancorp, based in Norristown, has $1.8 billion in assets and operates 60 branches and 61 automated teller machines in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Rhode Island-based Citizens Financial, a $55 billion commercial bank holding company and a subsidiary of Royal Bank of Scotland, purchased 345 Mellon bank branches in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey in December for $2.1 billion.

``Having successfully completed the integration of Mellon’s retail, small business and middle market businesses, we are now in a position to deepen our presence in the mid-Atlantic region,″ said Lawrence K. Fish, Citizens’ chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Citizens Financial became the second largest bank in New England, after FleetBoston Financial, with the January 2000 purchase of UST Corp. for $1.4 billion. UST was the holding company for USTrust, which had 87 banking offices in eastern Massachusetts.

The expansion in New England continued with the June announcement that Citizens would acquire Medford Bancorp Inc. and its 19 Massachusetts branches for $273 million.

Citizens has 740 branches and more than 1,545 automated teller machines in seven New England and mid-Atlantic states: Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.

Shares in Commonwealth Bancorp gained $17.88, or 64 percent, Monday to $46.00 each on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

___

On the Net:

Citizens Financial Inc.: http://www.citizensbank.com

Commonwealth Bancorp Inc.: http://www.commonwealthbank.com

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