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Community Bank System Reports Record Fourth Quarter And Full Year Results

Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE: CBU) reported record fourth quarter 2011 net income of $19.0 million ($0.51 per share), an increase of 19.5% over the $15.9 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2010. Full year 2011 net income of $73.1 million, or $2.01 per share, was up 15.5% over net income for the year ended December 31, 2010. The Company’s 2011 results included $4.8 million ($0.09 per share after-tax) of acquisition expenses related to the Company’s merger with The Wilber Corporation in early April.

Total revenue for the fourth quarter of 2011 was $77.6 million, an increase of $9.7 million, or 14.3%, over the fourth quarter of last year. The higher revenue was a result of an 18.3% increase in average earning assets, principally driven by the Wilber acquisition and organic deposit growth, offset slightly by a one-basis point decline in the Company’s net interest margin to 4.06%. The quarterly provision for loan losses of $1.6 million was $0.3 million lower than the fourth quarter of 2010, reflective of lower net charge-offs and the continuation of generally stable and favorable asset quality metrics. Total operating expenses were $47.8 million for the quarter, or 8.4% higher than the fourth quarter of 2010, primarily reflective of the additional operating costs associated with the Wilber acquisition. Total revenue for 2011 increased by $28.2 million, or 10.4% compared to the prior year, reflecting increases in both net interest income and noninterest income.

“Our team produced another quarter and year with record earnings despite significant economic headwinds in 2011,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Tryniski. “Just as important, we continued to focus on building additional value into our enterprise through selective acquisitions, disciplined lending and a consistent approach to business regardless of economic conditions. Our recently announced acquisition of 19 bank branches across our core Upstate New York markets will strengthen and extend our existing presence within these areas. Other important 2011 milestones include the successful integration of Wilber National Bank, as our Central New York Region, and the acquisition of CAI Benefits, Inc,, an employee benefits consulting and actuarial business serving the strategically important metropolitan New York marketplace. With continued strong revenue growth, excellent asset quality metrics and our focus on expense management, we are well positioned to continue our performance into 2012.”

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