DEWITT, N.Y. - Community Bank System Inc. and Chase Manhattan Corp. have pushed back the latest possible closing date for Community Bank's purchase of 15 Chase branches and $459 million of deposits in upstate New York.

The new deadline is July 31, but an amended agreement would also allow an additional month if regulatory approval is delayed by a Community Reinvestment Act protest filed by Bronx-based Inner City Press/Community on the Move.

Also, since the original agreement was signed in December, deposits at the branches have declined to $451.7 million, loans have increased to $25.3 million from $24 million, and the price for the properties has dropped to $5.1 million from $6.5 million.

The two banks agreed that Chase would retain the public deposits of certain municipalities and school districts that hold investments with Chase that Community Bank doesn't offer. No dollar figure has been determined.

And $960 million-asset Community Bank agreed to reimburse Chase for the cost of an accountant's "comfort letter" from Price Waterhouse. The letter supplied information about the deal for the registration statement with Community Bank's stock offering.

Community Bank also reiterated its intent to divest up to $125 million of deposits after the purchase through branch sales and reductions of public deposits on its own balance sheet.

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