SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT–(Marketwire – October 20, 2011) – Merchants Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: MBVT), the parent company of Merchants Bank, announced that its Board of Directors declared today, October 20, 2011, a dividend of 28 cents per share, payable November 17, 2011, to shareholders of record as of November 3, 2011. Merchants plans to release earnings on or about October 25, 2011.Michael R. Tuttle, Merchants’ President and Chief Executive Officer, Janet P. Spitler, Merchants’ Chief Financial Officer and Geoffrey R. Hesslink, Executive Vice President and Senior Lender of Merchants will host a conference call to discuss these earnings results at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, October 28, 2011. Interested parties may participate in the conference call by dialing U.S. number (800) 230-1074; the title of the call is Merchants Bancshares, Inc. Earnings Call. Participants are asked to call a few minutes prior to register. A replay will be available until noon on Friday, November 4, 2011. The U.S. replay dial-in telephone number is (800) 475-6701. The international replay telephone number is (320) 365-3844. The replay access code for both replay telephone numbers is 200986.Vermont Matters. Merchants Bank strives to fulfill its role as the state’s leading independent community bank through a wide range of initiatives. The bank supports organizations throughout Vermont in addressing essential needs, sustaining community programs, providing small business and job start capital, funding financial literacy education and delivering enrichment through local sports activities.Merchants Bank was established in 1849 in Burlington, Vermont. Its continuing mission is to provide Vermonters with a statewide community bank that combines a strong technology platform with a genuine appreciation for local markets. Merchants Bank delivers this commitment through a branch-based system that includes: 34 community bank offices and 40 ATMs throughout Vermont; local branch presidents and personal bankers dedicated to high-quality customer service; free online banking, phone banking, and electronic bill payment services; high-value depositing programs that feature Cash Rewards Checking, Rewards Checking for Business, business cash management, money market accounts, health savings accounts, certificates of deposit, Flexible CD, IRAs, and overdraft assurance; feature-rich loan programs including mortgages, home equity credit, vehicle loans, personal and small business loans and lines of credit; and merchant card processing. Merchants Bank offers a strong set of comm ercial and government banking solutions, delivered by experienced banking officers in markets throughout the state; these teams provide customized financing for medium-to-large companies, non-profits, cities, towns, and school districts. Merchants Trust Company, a division of Merchants Bank, provides investment management, financial planning and trustee services. Please visit www.mbvt.com(link is external) for access to Merchants Bank information, programs, and services. Merchants’ stock is traded on the NASDAQ National Market system under the symbol MBVT. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.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. Merchants’ actual results could differ materially from those projec ted 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 Merchants’ 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 Merchants’ interest-bearing assets and liabilities; increases in loan repayment rates affecting interest incom e 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 Merchants’ ability to take appropriate action to protect Merchants’ financial interests in certain loan situations.You should not place undue reliance on Merchants’ 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 Merchants’ 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. Merchants does 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.
Prosecution attorney Daniel Akemon presented his closing arguments to the jury on the sixth day of the trial of Javier Bolden Thursday morning at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.Bolden, 22, is charged with the 2012 murders of USC graduate students Ming Qu and Ying Wu. He is also charged with attempted murder and assault with a firearm, the details of which came to light in Thursday’s testimony.On the night of Feb. 12, 2012, Javier Bolden entered a party at a banquet hall in the Vermont Square neighborhood in South Los Angeles armed with a semi-automatic 9-millimeter Luger pistol. Bolden appeared “turned up in the wrong way,” said Charles Darden, a witness who testified to the scene.Following an altercation inside the banquet hall, Bolden allegedly shot and critically wounded two people and fled the scene of the crime. Authorities recovered shell casings from the Vermont Square incident that matched those linked to the April murders of Qu and Wu.Akemon argued that Bolden assisted Bryan Barnes, who plead guilty to the murder of Qu and Wu and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.Though Bolden did not fire the gun that killed the two students, he participated in the robbery alongside Barnes. Bolden is accountable for Barnes’s actions under the felony murder rule, which states that all participants in a felony or attempted felony can be charged with and found guilty of murder.“Mr. Bolden is not the type of guy to let things go … Mr. Bolden is going to go take care of business, and that’s what he did,” Akemon said, referring to the Vermont Square incident.When Bolden was apprehended by police officers in May, he told his cellmate, a confidential informant, that he had been involved in the USC killings. The prosecution showed a video of Bolden’s admission during Thursday’s proceedings.“I looked at him [Qu]. He was leaned over … She [Wu] was laying there … and I took off running,” Bolden said in the video.At the end of his closing argument, Akemon told the jury that there was “no mystery in this case.”“The people ask that you find Mr. Bolden guilty of the murder of Ming Wu and the murder of Ying Qu and that you find true the special circumstances that they were murdered during the course of a robbery,” Akemon said.During the defense’s closing argument, alternate public defender Andrew Goldman said that evidence of only two shell casings found at the scene of the Vermont Square shooting did not necessarily indicate that only two bullets were fired.He said there was a possibility of another shooter with a revolver, saying that revolvers retain shell casings after bullets are fired.Goldman characterized Bolden as “cold, scared and young” in his interrogation with police detectives in which he said he was involved in the USC murders. Bolden was 19 at the time of the interview.Goldman argued that police had intimidated Bolden during the interrogation by mentioning the possibility of the death penalty.“We don’t want to play games with you,” Detective Vincent Carreon said. “We want to give you the opportunity to tell us what happened out there.”The lawyers also argued about the significance of the vehicle that the two victims were sitting in when they were shot. Bolden identified the car as a blue BMW 7 Series. In fact, the car was a gray BMW 3 Series.Goldman said that Bolden’s lack of knowledge about the details of the crime in his conversation with the police informant showed that he was fabricating his involvement to appear tough to his cellmate.“These are the details, these are the things that are important,” Goldman said in his closing argument.Akemon disagreed, saying that Bolden was going into excruciating detail about things only the killer would know and that the discrepancies were a difficult distinction to make when fleeing from the crime scene.The murders took place around 1 a.m. on April 11, 2012. It was raining at the time of the shooting.Akemon also said that the mention of the death penalty had no visible effect on Mr. Bolden.“I’d be a blubbering pile of goo at that moment,” Akemon said.In his rebuttal, he characterized Bolden as a street smart individual who could hold his own with police detectives.Judge Stephen A. Marcus will give the jury, made up of seven females and five males, instructions today. A verdict is expected to be reached soon.