NBT Bancorp said Monday that it has a deal to buy Lake Ariel (Pa.) Bancorp for $92.8 million in stock, its first move outside of New York State.

Lake Ariel, with $500 million of assets, is the parent of LA Bank, which has 22 branches in five northeastern Pennsylvania counties. The merger is expected to close during the first quarter.

Terms of the deal call for LA Bank to become the second bank subsidiary of NBT, a $1.3 billion-asset company that operates 36 branches in central New York under the name NBT Bank. John G. Martines, Lake Ariel's chief executive, is expected to remain on as president of the combined company's Pennsylvania operations.

NBT also said it is reducing its stock repurchase plan from 600,000 shares, as previously announced, to 200,000. That leaves 76,500 shares remaining to be repurchased, the company said.

-- Louis Whiteman

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