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Community Bank System Reports Strong First Quarter Results

Community Bank System, Inc. (NYSE: CBU) reported first quarter 2012 net income of $18.8 million ($0.48 per share), an increase of 16.5% over the $16.2 million (also $0.48 per share) reported for the first quarter of 2011. First quarter 2012’s earnings per share were negatively impacted by the successful common stock offering in support of the pending bank branch acquisition completed in January, by approximately two cents per share. For the trailing twelve-month period ended March 31, 2012, net income was $75.8 million, or $2.01 per share, and included eight cents per share of acquisition expenses related principally to the Company’s merger with The Wilber Corporation in April 2011.

Total revenue for the first quarter of 2012 was $77.4 million, an increase of $11.0 million, or 16.6%, over the first quarter of last year. The higher revenue was a result of a 19.6% increase in average earning assets, principally driven by the Wilber acquisition and organic deposit growth, offset by a 12-basis point decline in the Company’s net interest margin to 3.96%. The quarterly provision for loan losses of $1.6 million was $0.6 million higher than the first quarter of 2011, consistent with a $0.6 million increase in quarterly net charge-offs and the continuation of generally stable and favorable asset quality metrics. Total operating expenses were $49.4 million for the quarter, or 14.1% higher than the first quarter of 2011, primarily reflective of the additional operating costs associated with the Wilber acquisition.

“Our team produced another solid quarter of earnings to begin 2012,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Mark E. Tryniski. “Just as important, we have 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 pending acquisition of 19 bank branches across our core Upstate New York markets will strengthen and extend our existing presence within these areas. We remain pleased with the successful integration of the Wilber National Bank which we acquired last April, and now operate as our Central New York Region. With continued revenue growth, excellent asset quality metrics and our focus on expense management, we are well positioned to continue our strong performance for the remainder of 2012.”

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