HAWTHORNE, N.Y.--Shareholders of Peoples Westchester Savings Bank approved the proposed merger of the bank into First Fidelity Bank, a unit of First Fidelity Bancorp.

More than 80% of shares outstanding were voted in favor of the merger at a special shareholders meeting, according to First Fidelity. Pending the approval of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the merger is expected to take place by the end of this year.

Peoples Westchester shareholders can elect to receive either cash or First Fidelity common shares in exchange for their common shares of Peoples Westchester Savings Bank. The value received will be based upon the average closing price of First Fidelity's common shares over a 10-day pricing period ending 10 business days before the effective date of the merger.

Peoples Westchester has $1.7 million of assets, $1.5 million of deposits, and 31 branches in the suburbs north of New York City.

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