A Pennsylvania community bank announced last week that it would shed a quarter of the branches it bought from a big-bank neighbor just months ago.

First Western Bancorp of New Castle, said it would sell three branches to USBancorp of Johnstown, Pa., and a fourth to CNB Financial Corp. of Clearfield, Pa. Sale prices were not disclosed.

USBancorp would acquire $102 million of deposits and $14 million of loans from First Western. CNB would buy $36 million of deposits and $11.5 million of loans.

The branches are among a group of 16 that First Western bought from PNC Bank Corp., Pittsburgh, in June. Thomas J. O'Shane, chairman and chief executive officer of $2.1 billion-asset First Western, said the four branches simply did not fit into the company's future.

"After thoroughly reviewing our markets, we determined that it made sense for these branches to be operated by banks that are better known in the respective communities," he said.

First Western also said it would buy an existing USBancorp branch in its market, also for an undisclosed price. All three deals are expected to close in February 1999. -Louis Whiteman

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