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Five Star Bank calls merger activity quiet in upstate New York

All's quiet on the merger front in upstate New York, according to the president and CEO of Five Star Bank's parent company.

Martin K. Birmingham of Warsaw-based Financial Institutions was asked on an analysts' conference call Friday about prospects for acquiring a bank.

"We continue to be good listeners, and as well, we're continuing to build relationships across the board," Birmingham said. "But (mergers and acquisition activity) continues to be pretty quiet across upstate New York."

The bank has slowed its hiring and recruiting compared to a year ago, Birmingham said. But he said disruption caused by the Key-First Niagara deal continues to be a factor.

Financial Institutions' second-quarter profits nearly doubled to $12.2 million, from $6.2 million a year ago. The bank sharply cut its provision for loan losses to $40,000 from $3.8 million a year ago, which fueled an increase in net interest income. The loan loss allowance was much higher a year ago due to the downgrade of a single commercial credit relationship, said Kevin Klotzbach, the chief financial officer.

Loan growth and a lower tax credit also bolstered the bank's net interest income from a year ago, Klotzbach said.

The bank on June 1 acquired HNP Capital, an investment advisory and wealth management firm based in suburban Rochester.

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