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Heritage Financial Group, Inc. Reports First Quarter Net Income Of $1.2 Million Or $0.15 Per Diluted Share

"In addition to acquisition growth, we also continued to experience organic growth in most of our markets, as we continued to build on our recent entry into several attractive markets, like Valdosta and Statesboro," Dorminey continued. "We were excited to find concurrent opportunities to expand our mortgage lending operations in the first quarter as we leveraged our mortgage production to create a true secondary market mortgage program with in-house underwriting. Extending these capabilities to Statesboro, Valdosta and McDonough, Georgia, in the first quarter, we recently have added six new originators and opened mortgage loan production offices in Warner Robins, LaGrange and Gainesville, Georgia.

"Clearly, our expansion activities have necessitated additional staffing to support our growing infrastructure, and we continue to incur some transitional costs with duplicate back office systems and operations," Dorminey added. "Still, we believe the steps we have taken to expand our footprint and enhance our services will prove to be strategically important to our long-term growth, and we are excited about the opportunities we see for building greater returns on the investments we have made in this regard and the prospects that should continue to arise considering the current banking climate."

In the first quarter of 2011, the Company continued to post loan and deposit growth, with both increasing on a linked-quarter basis and rising significantly compared with the year-earlier quarter. The Company has continued to experience organic growth in all of its markets except Ocala, which has been disproportionately affected by the real estate downturn and higher unemployment. Still, bank acquisitions, including the Company's second whole-bank acquisition in February 2011, accounted for much of the growth in loans and deposits over the past 12 months. At March 31, 2011, the Company's loan portfolio totaled $496.1 million, including $62.4 million of loans covered by an FDIC loss-share agreement, up 45% from $342.5 million at March 31, 2010. Total deposits stood at $731.1 million at the end of the first quarter of 2011, up 71% from $428.4 million at the end of the year-earlier quarter.

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