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PROFITS OFF SLIGHTLY AT NORSTAR BANK

Profits declined slightly at Norstar Bank in Buffalo during the third quarter, but the bank's performance was the best of Fleet-Norstar Financial Corp.'s banking units.

The bank had profits of $13.0 million, down 1.4 percent from $13.2 million a year ago.

The profit decline was the smallest for any of Fleet-Norstar's eight banks. Its banking subsidiary in Albany saw its profits decline by 8 percent, while its Syracuse subsidiary posted a profit decline of 31 percent. Profits in its Long Island bank declined by 35 percent.

Fleet-Norstar's New Hampshire and Connecticut banks suffered losses, while its flagship bank in Rhode Island suffered a 99 percent decline in profits. Profits in Maine declined by 35 percent.

The Buffalo bank racked up its second quarterly profit since an unusual $23.9 million loss in the first quarter. That loss, which is the only quarterly loss the Buffalo bank has suffered in years, came after a strict examination by federal bank regulators forced the bank to write off millions of dollars worth of loans.

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