BOSTON, Dec. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- John Hancock Bank and Thrift Opportunity Fund (NYSE: BTO) (the "Fund"), a closed-end fund managed by John Hancock Advisers, LLC, announced today that its Board of Trustees, as part of its ongoing evaluation of options to enhance shareholder value and potentially decrease the discount between the market price and the net asset value ("NAV") of the Fund's common shares, has renewed the Fund's share repurchase plan that is set to expire on December 31, 2011. As renewed, the Fund may purchase, in the open market, up to an additional 10% of its outstanding common shares between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012 (based on common shares outstanding as of December 31, 2011). The share repurchase plan seeks to enhance shareholder value and to potentially narrow the Fund's discount to NAV. The plan allows the Fund to acquire its own shares in the open market at a discount to NAV, which is intended to increase the NAV per share. It could also have the benefit of providing additional liquidity in the trading of common shares. The Fund has been repurchasing shares in 2011 to seek to enhance shareholder value, and year-to-date through November 30, 2011 the Fund has repurchased 817,650 shares, or 4.14% of total outstanding shares. During this period, the share repurchases have contributed to the Fund's NAV by approximately $0.07 per share. There is no assurance that the Fund will purchase shares at any specific discount levels or in any specific amounts. The Fund's repurchase activity will be disclosed in its shareholder report for the relevant fiscal period. There is no assurance that the market price of the Fund's shares, either absolutely or relative to NAV, will increase as a result of any share repurchases, or that the plan will enhance shareholder value over the long-term.