Norwood Financial Corp. in Pennsylvania is taking a break from the automobile leasing business.

Unhappy with the shallow profit margins it has been generating in the sector, the Honesdale-based bank said in a quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it is no longer signing new leases. Norwood, which got into automobile leasing in April 1996, will continue to honor the terms on the 33 vehicles it has out.

Lewis Critelli, executive vice president of the $304 million-asset company, said Norwood has been disappointed with the number of early terminations of leases and the lower-than-expected value of the vehicles when they are returned. Most of all, he said, there is just too much competition to get the returns the bank had sought.

"We have decided it's in our best interest to go to the sidelines for now." -- Louis Whiteman

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