Granite State Bankshares, Inc. to Acquire Three Insurance Agencies


KEENE, N.H., Feb. 8, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Granite State Bankshares, Inc. (Nasdaq:GSBI) today announced that its subsidiary bank, Granite Bank, has reached agreements to acquire Blake Insurance Agency, Sise Insurance and Sise Financial Services, all located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

"We are excited that we were able to combine our 166 years of service to the Seacoast community with Granite Bank," said G. Warren Wilder, President of Sise Insurance. "It's a real value to our customers to be able to meet their insurance needs at the same place they bank."

Alex Hanson, President of Sise Financial Services, echoed his comments: "This is a merger of four outstanding businesses that are truly committed to our customers and community. I, and all of our employees, look forward to being members of the team."

Blake Insurance Agency, established in 1930, and John Sise & Company, founded in 1836, are among the largest and oldest on the seacoast. The full-service agencies offer complete lines of personal and commercial property and casualty insurance products, group benefits, individual life and disability coverage, annuities and other financial service products.

"Key to our decision to merge with Granite Bank were the similarities in dedication to customer service, and a culture and business philosophy committed to quality, credibility and stability," said Joseph A. DeStefano, Jr., President of Blake.

With the exception of Wilder, who is retiring, all insurance agents, management and staff from the agencies are expected to remain with the company.

"These well-known and respected Seacoast insurance agencies will definitely augment the current services we already offer our customers," said Charles W. Smith, Chairman and CEO of Granite State. "Their dominance in the marketplace, combined with Granite Bank's financial strength and capacity, provide significant benefits to our respective customers while creating a strategic competitive advantage for our Seacoast banking operations. Our alliance with these agencies is just the starting point for our future expansion into the insurance community."

The combined agencies have annual premium volumes in excess of $20 million. The acquisitions are expected to be immediately accretive to earnings. By agreement of all parties, financial terms were not disclosed. The transactions are expected to close early in the second quarter of 2002.

Granite State Bankshares, Inc. is the parent company for Granite Bank, a New Hampshire state-chartered commercial bank established in 1896, and the largest independent bank in the state of New Hampshire with $1 billion in assets and 19 offices operating throughout southern New Hampshire.

Certain statements contained herein are not based on historical facts and are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements may be identified by reference to a future period or periods, or by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as "may," "will," "believe," "expect," "estimate," "anticipate," "continue," or similar terms or variations on those terms, or the negative of those terms. Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those related to the economic environment, particularly in the market areas in which the company operates, competitive products and pricing, fiscal and monetary policies of the U.S. Government, changes in government regulations affecting financial institutions, including regulatory fees and capital requirements, changes in prevailing interest rates, acquisitions and the integration of acquired businesses, credit risk management, asset-liability management, the financial and securities markets and the availability of and costs associated with sources of liquidity.

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