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Eastern Bank Corporation posts record earnings in 2006
Net income up 47 percent versus 2005
 
BOSTON, March 12, 2007 – Eastern Bank Corporation’s net income grew 47 percent, from $49.2 million in 2005 to a record $72.4 million in 2006, overcoming a challenging business climate, the bank announced today.

“We are quite pleased with our 2006 performance, which occurred against the backdrop of a difficult interest rate environment and increased competition,” said Eastern Bank Chairman and CEO Richard E. Holbrook.  “We overcame these challenges, in part, by reaching out more than ever before to our customers to find out how we can best meet all of their financial service needs.”

For the year ending Dec. 31, 2006, the corporation’s assets increased 5 percent to $6.6 billion and total capital grew 10 percent to more than $730 million.  Eastern’s asset quality remained exceptionally strong throughout the year, as net credit losses and non-performing assets remained relatively low.

Eastern’s commitment to communities continued in 2006, through the contribution of $4.5 million to the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, which in turn gave $2.1 million to hundreds of nonprofit organizations across eastern Massachusetts.

Eastern’s 2006 performance will be discussed tonight at its annual meeting, which is being held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

In late 2006, Eastern launched a new corporate strategy aimed at building upon its commitment to superior customer service.

“We are dedicating ourselves to three simple truths,” Holbrook said.  “We will become the best bank for our clients, the best organization for our colleagues, and the best citizen for our communities.  These are lofty goals, but truly, the only acceptable standards are the highest ones.”

Looking ahead to 2007, Eastern is continuing to pursue opportunities to better serve existing and future customers.  Last month, Eastern took another step in that direction, announcing plans to merge with Sharon Co-operative Bank. If approved, the merger would give Eastern 73 branches stretching from Merrimack Valley to Cape Cod.

Eastern also launched a new marketing campaign last month.  Called “True Blue,” the campaign underscores Eastern’s loyalty, honesty and integrity, along with its deep-rooted commitment to customers, employees and communities.

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 $6.6 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.

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