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FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS REPORTS 17.3% GAIN IN EARNINGS FOR 1999

Record earnings at all four of its bank's propelled Warsaw-based Financial Institutions Inc. to a 17.3 percent profit increase in 1999.

The bank holding company earned $15.9 million, or $1.38 per diluted share during the year, compared with $13.6 million, or $1.22 per diluted share during 1998.

Loan growth at the company's four banks - Wyoming County Bank, The National Bank of Geneva, Pavilion State Bank and First Tier Bank and Trust - fueled a steady flow of interest income. The company has been aggressively growing its commercial loan portfolio and Wyoming County Bank remains one of the state's leading agricultural lenders.

Loans outstanding for the four banks grew from $655 million in December 1998 to $763 million in December 1999. Financial Institutions finished the year strong, reporting a net income Tuesday of $4.1 million for the fourth quarter, a 30.6 percent increase from $3.1 million the same quarter last year.

The bank holding company completed an initial public offering in June and raised $13.6 million by selling 1.1 million shares.

The stock suffered in 1999 as the market punished financial stocks during a period of rising interest rates. Financial Institutions has lost more than 25 percent from its initial price of $14 a share to close at $10.62 Tuesday.

Financial Institutions had assets of $1.1 billion on Dec. 31, up from $976 million a year earlier.

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