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ESSA Bancorp, Inc. Announces Operating Results for the Second Fiscal Quarter of 2013

STROUDSBURG, PA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/24/13 -- ESSA Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: ESSA), the holding company for ESSA Bank & Trust, today announced its operating results for the three and six months ended March 31, 2013. The Company reported net income of $2.0 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, for the three months ended March 31, 2013, compared with net income of $659,000, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the Company's second fiscal quarter 2012. The Company's return on average assets (ROAA), and return on average equity (ROAE), respectively, were 0.59% and 4.71%, compared with 0.24% and 1.62%, in the corresponding period of fiscal 2012.

For the six months ended March 31, 2013, ESSA reported net income of $4.9 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, compared to net income of $1.5 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, for the corresponding 2012 period. The Company's ROAA, and ROAE, respectively, were 0.71% and 5.59% for the 2013 period, compared with 0.28% and 1.90%, in the corresponding period of 2012.

ESSA Bancorp completed its acquisition of First Star Bancorp on July 31, 2012. The results for the periods ended March 31, 2013, reflect the effects of the acquisition in fiscal 2013. Total assets were $1.4 billion and total deposits were $1.0 billion at March 31, 2013.

Gary S. Olson, President and CEO, commented: "ESSA's mid-2012 acquisition of First Star is clearly proving accretive to our earnings, and our expanded presence in the Lehigh Valley is providing ESSA with access to a vibrant market and a larger base of new customers and prospective customers. Additionally, we are realizing an approximate 30% cost savings from First Star's operating expenses, right in line with our previously stated goals pertaining to the acquisition.

"We are encouraged by the increasing loan demand in our Lehigh Valley market. Fiscal year-to-date, ESSA closed $72.2 million of residential mortgages and $22.6 million of commercial loans. A slightly reduced net loan balance at March 31, 2013 compared with September 30, 2012 primarily reflected loan pay-offs, which are expected during this protracted low interest rate environment and the sale of $19.2 million of mortgage loans.

"We are cautiously optimistic that continued economic expansion, combined with our new, larger market will provide significant lending growth opportunities for the Company. ESSA has the capital strength to support both organic and other growth as prudent opportunities arise.

"ESSA's board of directors continues to believe repurchasing the Company's stock is a good use of our capital, and our repurchase program remains ongoing. For the six months ended March 31, 2013, the Company repurchased 640,209 shares at an average cost of $11.07 per share."

Income Statement

Net interest income increased $3.1 million, or 45.98%, to $9.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2013, from $6.8 million for the comparable period in 2012. The increase was primarily attributable to an increase in the Company's interest rate spread to 2.97% for the three months ended March 31, 2013, from 2.36% for the comparable period in 2012 combined with an increase in the Company's average net earning assets of $3.2 million. A decrease in the yield on the Company's total average interest earning assets to 3.97% for the 2013 period from 4.22% for the 2012 period was more than offset by a decrease in the cost of the Company's total average interest bearing liabilities to 1.00% from 1.86% for the same comparative periods. Net interest margin was 3.08% for the three months ended March 31, 2013 compared to net interest margin of 2.63% for the comparable period in 2012.

Olson stated: "While low interest rates continue to put pressure on our net interest margin, ESSA has demonstrated success in reducing its cost of funds while retaining core deposit customers."

Interest income for the three months ended March 31, 2013 includes approximately $443,000 of net accretion of fair market value adjustments for credit and yield applied to First Star loans at the acquisition closing date of July 31, 2012. In addition, net income for the quarter includes approximately $210,000 of the recapture of fair value adjustments to loans acquired as part of the First Star acquisition that were either fully or partially repaid during the quarter.

Interest income for the six months ended March 31, 2013 includes approximately $866,000 of net accretion of fair market value adjustments for credit and yield applied to First Star loans at the acquisition closing date of July 31, 2012. In addition, net income for the six months included approximately $1.2 million of the recapture of fair value adjustments to loans acquired as part of the First Star acquisition that were either fully or partially repaid during the six months ended March 31, 2013.

Interest expense decreased primarily as a result of a decrease in interest rates and a decrease in higher rate borrowings for the three and six months ended March 31, 2013 compared with the comparable periods in 2012.

The provision for loan losses increased $200,000 to $850,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2013, from $650,000 for the comparable period in 2012. The provision for loan losses increased $700,000 to $1.9 million for the six months ended March 31, 2013, from $1.2 million for the comparable period in 2012. Net loan charge-offs for the three months ended March 31, 2013 were $747,000 compared to $277,000 for the comparable period in 2012. Net loan charge-offs for the six months ended March 31, 2013 were $1.5 million compared to $1.2 million for the comparable period in 2012.

Noninterest income increased $835,000, or 51.45%, to $2.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2013, compared with the three months ended March 31, 2012, primarily reflecting an increase in the gain on sale of investments of $561,000. The quarter ended March 31, 2013, included gains on the sale of investments of $708,000 before tax compared with $147,000 for the quarter ended March 31, 2012.

Noninterest income increased $1.3 million, or 42.48% to $4.5 million for the six months ended March 31, 2012 from $3.1 million for the comparable period in 2012. The primary reasons for the increase were increases in service fees on deposit accounts of $130,000, services charges and fees on loans of $113,000, gain on sale of investments of $591,000 and gain on sale of loans of $407,000.

Allan Muto, EVP and CFO, commented: "While our fiscal second quarter and six month results reflect the continued positive impact of the recapture of fair value adjustments and net accretion as a result of the acquired performing and non-performing loans from First Star, we expect these accounting related adjustments to become less significant by the end of fiscal 2013. We sold certain mortgage backed securities at a gain and provided some necessary liquidity to our holding company, in order to fund our continued stock repurchase program. We remain diligently focused on improving our financial performance in all areas of our business."

Noninterest expense increased $1.9 million to $8.8 million or 27.87%, for the three months ended March 31, 2013, from $6.9 million for the comparable period in 2012, reflecting increases in compensation and employee benefits of $1.1 million, occupancy and equipment of $254,000, data processing of $298,000 and professional fees of $189,000. These increases were partially offset by decreases in merger related costs of $227,000 and a decrease in the cost to liquidate foreclosed real estate of $212,000.

Noninterest expense increased $2.8 million to $16.3 million or 20.38%, for the six months ended March 31, 2013, from $13.5 million for the comparable period in 2012, reflecting increases in compensation and employee benefits of $1.7 million, occupancy and equipment of $447,000, data processing of $479,000 and amortization of intangible assets of $337,000. These increases were partially offset by decreases in merger related costs of $376,000 and a decrease in the cost to liquidate foreclosed real estate of $505,000.

The increases in noninterest expenses were due primarily to the larger organization in the 2013 periods compared with the 2012 periods.

Balance Sheet, Asset Quality and Capital Adequacy

Total assets decreased $32.9 million, or 2.32%, to $1.39 billion at March 31, 2013, compared to $1.42 billion at September 30, 2012, although up significantly compared with pre-merger total assets. Increases in cash and cash equivalents of $8.4 million, compared with September 30, 2012, were offset by decreases in total investment securities of $14.6 million, loans receivable of $11.2 million, regulatory stock of $5.6 million and other assets of $8.6 million.

Total deposits increased $8.4 million, or 0.84%, to $1.0 billion at March 31, 2013, from $995.6 million at September 30, 2012. Borrowings decreased $43.6 million to $191.1 million from $234.7 million during the same period.

Nonperforming assets totaled $28.6 million, or 2.06%, of total assets at March 31, 2013, compared with $27.2 million, or 1.92%, of total assets at September 30, 2012. The increase in nonperforming assets of $1.4 million at March 31, 2013 compared to September 30, 2012 was due primarily to an increase in non-performing residential mortgage loans of $2.4 million which was offset in part by a decline in foreclosed real estate of $1.3 million. The Company made a provision for loan losses of $850,000 and $1.9 million for the three and six month periods ended March 31, 2013, respectively, compared with provisions of $650,000 and $1.2 million for the comparable three and six month periods in 2012. The allowance for loan losses was $7.7 million, or 0.81%, of loans outstanding at March 31, 2013, compared to $7.3 million, or 0.76%, of loans outstanding at September 30, 2012.

Stockholders' equity decreased $3.7 million, or 2.08%, to $171.8 million at March 31, 2013, from $175.4 million at September 30, 2012. The decrease was due primarily to the stock repurchase program announced during the first fiscal quarter. For the six months ended March 31, 2013, the Company repurchased 640,209 shares at an average cost of $11.07 per share. The Company's tier 1 leverage ratio was 12.10%, and tangible equity to total assets was 11.56%.

Olson concluded: "Our primary focus is on growing shareholder value in a prudent manner, despite a difficult prolonged interest rate and economic environment for all financial institutions. Our strong capital position and newly established positioning as a go-to commercial and residential lender in the Lehigh Valley provides management and the board with great confidence in ESSA's future. We remain nimble as an organization and will continue to look for ways to increase value for shareholders in the coming periods."

ESSA Bank & Trust, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ESSA Bancorp, Inc., has total assets of over $1.3 billion and is the leading service-oriented financial institution headquartered in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. The Bank maintains its corporate headquarters in downtown Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania and has 26 community offices throughout the Greater Pocono and Lehigh Valley areas in Pennsylvania. In addition to being one of the region's largest mortgage lenders, ESSA Bank & Trust offers a full range of retail, commercial financial services, and financial advisory and asset management capabilities. ESSA Bancorp, Inc. stock trades on The NASDAQ Global Market(SM) under the symbol "ESSA."

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained herein are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements may be identified by reference to a future period or periods, or by the use of forward-looking terminology, such as "may," "will," "believe," "expect," "estimate," "anticipate," "continue," or similar terms or variations on those terms, or the negative of those terms. Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, those related to the economic environment, particularly in the market areas in which the Company operates, competitive products and pricing, fiscal and monetary policies of the U.S. Government, changes in government regulations affecting financial institutions, including compliance costs and capital requirements, changes in prevailing interest rates, acquisitions and the integration of acquired businesses, credit risk management, asset-liability management, the financial and securities markets and the availability of and costs associated with sources of liquidity.

The Company wishes to caution readers not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date made. The Company wishes to advise readers that the factors listed above could affect the Company's financial performance and could cause the Company's actual results for future periods to differ materially from any opinions or statements expressed with respect to future periods in any current statements. The Company does not undertake and specifically declines any obligation to publicly release the result of any revisions, that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events.

FINANCIAL TABLES FOLLOW


                      ESSA BANCORP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARY
                         CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET
                                (UNAUDITED)

                                                 March 31,    September 30,
                                                    2013           2012
                                               -------------  -------------
                                                  (dollars in thousands)
ASSETS
  Cash and due from banks                      $      11,006  $      11,034
  Interest-bearing deposits with other
   institutions                                       12,954          4,516
                                               -------------  -------------

    Total cash and cash equivalents                   23,960         15,550
  Certificates of deposit                              1,766          1,266
  Investment securities available for sale           314,961        329,585
  Loans receivable held for sale                           -            346
  Loans receivable (net of allowance for loan
   losses of $7,671 and $7,302)                      938,782        950,009
  Regulatory stock, at cost                           16,262         21,914
  Premises and equipment, net                         16,017         16,170
  Bank-owned life insurance                           28,323         27,848
  Foreclosed real estate                               1,699          2,998
  Intangible assets, net                               2,957          3,457
  Goodwill                                             8,541          8,541
  Deferred income taxes                               11,413         11,336
  Other assets                                        21,195         29,766
                                               -------------  -------------

    TOTAL ASSETS                               $   1,385,876  $   1,418,786
                                               =============  =============


LIABILITIES
  Deposits                                     $   1,004,032  $     995,634
  Short-term borrowings                               33,038         43,281
  Other borrowings                                   158,060        191,460
  Advances by borrowers for taxes and
   insurance                                           9,425          3,432
  Other liabilities                                    9,564          9,568
                                               -------------  -------------

    TOTAL LIABILITIES                              1,214,119      1,243,375
                                               -------------  -------------


STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY
  Common stock                                           181            181
  Additional paid in capital                         182,288        181,220
  Unallocated common stock held by the
   Employee Stock Ownership Plan                     (10,759)       (10,985)
  Retained earnings                                   68,918         65,181
  Treasury stock, at cost                            (69,034)       (61,944)
  Accumulated other comprehensive income                 163          1,758
                                               -------------  -------------

    TOTAL STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY                       171,757        175,411
                                               -------------  -------------

    TOTAL LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY $   1,385,876  $   1,418,786
                                               =============  =============



                     ESSA BANCORP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARY
                      CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME
                                (UNAUDITED)

                                  For the Three Months   For the Six Months
                                     Ended March 31        Ended March 31
                                 --------------------- ---------------------
                                    2013       2012       2013       2012
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------
                                            (dollars in thousands)
INTEREST INCOME
  Loans receivable               $  11,041  $    9,145 $  23,278  $   18,486
  Investment securities:
      Taxable                        1,558       1,628     3,188       3,266
      Exempt from federal income
       tax                              73          55       127         103
    Other investment income             18           6        47           8
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------

        Total interest income       12,690      10,834    26,640      21,863
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------


INTEREST EXPENSE
  Deposits                           1,848       1,836     3,819       3,747
  Short-term borrowings                 46           6        82          11
    Other borrowings                   912       2,221     2,136       4,626
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------

        Total interest expense       2,806       4,063     6,037       8,384
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------


NET INTEREST INCOME                  9,884       6,771    20,603      13,479
    Provision for loan losses          850         650     1,850       1,150
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------


  NET INTEREST INCOME AFTER
   PROVISION FOR LOAN LOSSES         9,034       6,121    18,753      12,329
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------

NONINTEREST INCOME
  Service fees on deposit
   accounts                            711         661     1,518       1,388
  Services charges and fees on
   loans                               268         200       497         384
  Trust and investment fees            196         207       411         422
  Gain on sale of investments,
   net                                 708         147       738         147
  Gain on sale of loans, net            81           8       415           8
  Earnings on Bank-owned life
   insurance                           248         196       474         394
  Insurance commissions                232         195       407         386
    Other                               14           9        24          18
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------

        Total noninterest income     2,458       1,623     4,484       3,147
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------

NONINTEREST EXPENSE
  Compensation and employee
   benefits                          5,068       3,980     9,624       7,916
  Occupancy and equipment            1,030         776     1,979       1,532
  Professional fees                    592         403       904         744
  Data processing                      805         507     1,468         989
  Advertising                          145          67       255         153
  Federal Deposit Insurance
   Corporation (FDIC) Premiums         293         167       478         329
  Loss (Gain) on foreclosed real
   estate                             (172)         40      (398)        107
  Merger related costs                   -         227         -         376
  Amortization of intangible
   assets                              249          81       499         162
    Other                              780         626     1,486       1,228
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------

      Total noninterest expense      8,790       6,874    16,295      13,536
                                 ---------  ---------- ---------  ----------

Income before income taxes           2,702         870     6,942       1,940
  Income taxes                         662         211     2,023         395


Net Income                       $   2,040  $      659 $   4,919  $    1,545
                                 =========  ========== =========  ==========

Earnings per share:
  Basic                          $    0.17  $     0.06 $    0.41  $     0.14
  Diluted                        $    0.17  $     0.06 $    0.41  $     0.14


                              For the Three Months     For the Six Months
                                Ended March 31,         Ended March 31,
                            ----------------------- -----------------------
                                2013        2012        2013        2012
                            ----------- ----------- ----------- -----------
                             (dollars in thousands)  (dollars in thousands)
CONSOLIDATED AVERAGE
 BALANCES:
  Total assets              $ 1,393,004 $ 1,096,608 $ 1,395,870 $ 1,094,182
  Total interest-earning
   assets                     1,300,283   1,042,812   1,302,189   1,039,992
  Total interest-bearing
   liabilities                1,142,032     887,760   1,149,526     887,399
  Total stockholders'
   equity                       175,697     162,948     176,517     162,414

PER COMMON SHARE DATA:
  Average shares
   outstanding - basic       11,763,581  10,840,604  11,932,539  10,829,027
  Average shares
   outstanding - diluted     11,763,581  10,840,604  11,932,539  10,829,027
  Book value shares          12,589,699  12,109,622  12,589,699  12,109,622

Net interest rate spread           2.97%       2.36%       3.06%       2.34%
Net interest margin                3.08%       2.63%       3.17%       2.63%

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