Merchants Bank Recognized as One of the Top Performing Banks in America

Two Distinguished Banking Publications Have Recently Named Merchants Bank One of the Highest Performing Banks in the Entire Country

Marketwired

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT--(Marketwire -05/25/12)- Michael R. Tuttle, President and CEO of Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (MBVT), announced that American Banker Magazine and the ABA Banking Journal have both recently recognized Merchants Bank as one of the top performing banks in the country.

"At Merchants Bank, our commitment has always been to running a well-managed bank. And these two most recent accolades are a reflection of our entire organization. Every employee of Merchants Bank should take tremendous pride in knowing that their company is one of the finest banks in America. That's no small accomplishment," said Tuttle.

American Banker Magazine ranked banks across the country with less than $2 billion in assets and discovered that the best performing banks do not perform slightly better than their competition; the authors state "they're more than twice as good" as measured by a three-year average return on equity. According to their ranking system, Merchants Bank ranked number 10 in the country.

The ABA (American Bankers Association) Banking Journal ranked banks across the country with assets between $1 billion and $10 billion. According to their ranking system, Merchants Bank ranked number 14 in the country, in terms of average return on equity.

No other Vermont-based or New-Hampshire-based banks were represented in the top 20 of either ranking.

Certain statements contained in this press release that are not historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and are intended to be covered by the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. These statements, which are based on certain assumptions and describe Merchants' future plans, strategies and expectations, can generally be identified by the use of the words "may," "will," "should," "could," "would," "plan," "potential," "estimate," "project," "believe," "intend," "anticipate," "expect," "target" and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on the current assumptions and beliefs of management and are only expectations of future results. Our actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of, among others, general, national, regional or local economic conditions which are less favorable than anticipated, including continued global recession, impacting the performance of our investment portfolio, quality of credits or the overall demand for services; changes in loan default and charge-off rates which could affect the allowance for credit losses; declines in the equity and financial markets; reductions in deposit levels which could necessitate increased and/or higher cost borrowing to fund loans and investments; declines in mortgage loan refinancing, equity loan and line of credit activity which could reduce net interest and non-interest income; changes in the domestic interest rate environment and inflation; changes in the carrying value of investment securities and other assets; misalignment of our interest-bearing assets and liabilities; increases in loan repayment rates affecting interest income and the value of mortgage servicing rights; changing business, banking, or regulatory conditions or policies, or new legislation affecting the financial services industry, such as the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, that could lead to changes in the competitive balance among financial institutions, restrictions on bank activities, changes in costs (including deposit insurance premiums), increased regulatory scrutiny, declines in consumer confidence in depository institutions, or changes in the secondary market for bank loan and other products; and changes in accounting rules, federal and state laws, IRS regulations, and other regulations and policies governing financial holding companies and their subsidiaries which may impact our ability to take appropriate action to protect our financial interests in certain loan situations.

You should not place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements, and are cautioned that forward-looking statements are inherently uncertain. Actual performance and results of operations may differ materially from those projected or suggested in the forward-looking statements due to certain risks and uncertainties, which are included in more detail in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, as updated by our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and other filings submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect circumstances or events that occur after the date the forward-looking statements are made.

Contact:

Lisa Razo
Merchants Bank
(802) 865-1838

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