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LITITZ, PA-Susquehanna Bancshares, based here, will acquire Pottstown, PA-based Patriot Bank Corp. in a stock and cash transaction valued at $212 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Patriot shareholders can elect to receive either $30 in cash, or 1.143 common shares of Susquehanna, or a combination of both for each share of Patriot stock.

Patriot has 20 offices in Pennsylvania’s Berks, Chester, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton counties. “Patriot’s business lines and the excellent demographics of their market area fit perfectly with our stated acquisition strategy,” says William J. Reuter, Susquehanna’s chairman, president and CEO. “The projected growth in Patriot’s franchise area is significantly greater than that of Pennsylvania. Additionally, their focus on small- and middle-market lending and wealth management mirrors our strategy,” he adds.

The transaction is expected to reach completion in the second quarter 2004. It will make Susquehanna the fifth largest banking company based in Pennsylvania and takes its assets to more than $7 billion. Patriot will become a division of Susquehanna’s Farmers First Bank subsidiary, and Richard A. Elko, Patriot’s current president and CEO will retain those titles as head of Susquehanna’s Patriot Bank division. Two Patriot directors will be added to Susquehanna’s board. Patriot anticipates a 25% decrease in costs, or a saving of approximately $7.3 million, through a reduction of “administrative and operational redundancies, according to Elko.

Susquehanna and its subsidiaries currently operate in more than 160 locations in the mid-Atlantic region. It has assets of $5.9 billion.

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