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Sharon Co-operative Bank Depositors approve merger with Eastern Bank
 
SHARON, Mass., March 20, 2007 – The Sharon Co-operative Bank depositors overwhelmingly approved its proposed merger with Eastern Bank during a special meeting last night, the banks announced.

Edward M. Berger, chairman of the Board of The Sharon Co-operative Bank, presided over the meeting of over 70 depositors, who act as “shareholders” in co-operative banks.

“The Board of Directors is very pleased that the shareholders of The Sharon Co-operative Bank have agreed to move forward with the merger with Eastern Bank” Mr. Berger said.  “Our bank has served Sharon well since 1912, and this partnership with Eastern will insure that our customers have access to the finest banking services for the future.  We are also pleased that Eastern has committed to providing Sharon and the local area with a minimum of $500,000 in charitable contributions over the next three years, continuing the tradition of support that The Sharon Co-operative Bank has provided over the past 95 years.”

The vote was a required step in the merger approval process.  Pending regulatory approval, the formal merger is anticipated to take place in late spring.  Sharon Co-operative has one office at 7 S. Main St., Sharon.

Richard E. Holbrook, Chairman and CEO of Eastern Bank, said, “Eastern Bank is very honored that the shareholders of The Sharon Co-operative Bank have agreed to merge with Eastern.  Sharon is a wonderful community and an excellent banking market, and we look forward to providing it with the True Blue level of service that Eastern Bank has been known for since it was founded in 1818.”

The merger would give Eastern Bank 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.

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.