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Eastern Bank and Sharon Co-operative Bank Announce Merger Agreement
Partnership enhances convenience and service for consumers and businesses
 
SHARON, Mass., Jan. 30, 2007 – Eastern Bank and Sharon Co-operative Bank have agreed to merge, enabling them to better serve their customers in Sharon, Stoughton and neighboring communities, the banks announced today.

Sharon Co-operative, which has one office at 7 S. Main St., will merge into Eastern this summer, pending approval by regulators and Sharon’s depositors.  The Boards of Directors at each bank have already approved the merger.

“This partnership combines two independent organizations that share one goal: Provide customers with top-notch service,” said Richard E. Holbrook, Eastern’s chairman and CEO.  “By pooling our resources and talent, we’ve certainly enhanced our ability to serve the consumers and businesses in the Sharon area.”

Upon completion of the merger, Eastern Bank will have 73 locations serving 350,000 customers from Merrimack Valley to Cape Cod.  Eastern already operates an office inside of Shaw’s Supermarket on the Sharon-Foxborough line.  It also has branches in Stoughton, Canton and 29 other locations south of Boston.

“We felt that partnering with Eastern was the best way to maintain our service quality, in light of increasing competition and the rising cost of technology and regulatory compliance requirements,” said Stephen J. DeCesare, president and CEO of Sharon Co-operative.  “Each one of these factors is placing a financial burden on the financial services industry, including Sharon Co-operative.”

Upon completion of the merger, DeCesare will maintain a key role in the Eastern Bank organization and Sharon’s Board of Directors will become Trustees of Eastern Bank Corporation.  No locations will be closed as a result of the merger and no layoffs will occur.

“This merger is about maintaining service and improving convenience, not cutting costs,” Holbrook said.

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest independent, mutually owned commercial banking franchise in New England.  With $6.5 billion in assets and 72 branches stretching from Merrimack Valley to Cape Cod, Eastern offers superior service, convenience and a full range of financial products for consumers, businesses, investors, government agencies and not-for-profit organizations.  Its subsidiaries include Eastern Insurance and Fantini & Gorga, a real estate advisory firm.

About The Sharon Co-operative Bank
The Sharon Co-operative Bank was founded in 1912 by a group of Sharon residents who recognized that their growing community needed a local source for home financing. Today, Sharon Co-operative Bank continues to serve the residents of Sharon and surrounding communities with a wide range of financial products and services.
For more information, visit www.sharonco-opbank.com.

For more information, contact: Andrew Ravens, Public Relations, Eastern Bank,(781) 598-8528, or e-mail Andrew Ravens.