Under the terms of the agreement, the shareholders of NexTier will receive $200 in cash for each outstanding share of common stock of NexTier, resulting in a cash payment by Northwest of approximately $20.3m.

Donald Shamey, CEO of NexTier Bank, said: “Northwest has developed a superb reputation in the industry as a full-service banking organization that delivers quality products and services to its customers. We hope to leverage these strengths and the added resources that Northwest will bring to our market to better serve and greatly expand our customer base in western Pennsylvania, especially the Greater Pittsburgh market.”

William Wagner, president and CEO of Northwest Bancshares, said: “We are pleased to announce the merger with NexTier and the expansion of our network north of Pittsburgh. When these components of income are combined with the synergies we expect to realize from this in-market merger, the addition of NexTier will be accretive to Northwest’s return-on-assets, return-on-equity and earnings per share.

“From the perspective of shareholders’ equity, the transaction is only slightly dilutive to Northwest’s tangible equity position. In addition to the positive financial impact from the merger, we are excited that our combined network of offices in Butler, Armstrong, and Allegheny Counties – 39 total – will give us significant market share north of Pittsburgh.”

The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2010 and is subject to approval by the NexTier shareholders and applicable regulatory authorities and to other customary conditions.