A western New York thrift company already strong in the Buffalo market has a deal to boost its presence near Rochester, N.Y.

Niagara Bancorp in Lockport said Monday that it would buy Albion (N.Y.) Banc Corp. for $12.4 million in cash. The price equals 1.8 times book value and 12.4 times earnings.

Albion has $78 million of assets and operates two branches west of Rochester. Niagara has $1.6 billion of assets and 18 branches in four counties surrounding Buffalo.

William E. Swan, president and chief executive officer of Niagara, said buying Albion would give his company a "contiguous presence between Buffalo and Rochester, enhancing franchise value." The deal is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2000.

-- Louis Whiteman

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