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First Merchants Corporation Announces 3rd Quarter Earnings Per Share Of $.35

First Merchants Corporation (NASDAQ: FRME) has reported third quarter 2012 earnings per share of $.35 compared to a $.25 per share loss during the same period in 2011. Net income available to common shareholders totaled $10.1 million for the quarter, a $16.5 million increase over the third quarter of 2011. The loss in the third quarter of 2011 was the result of a $.46 per share one-time charge related to the Corporation’s exit of the CPP program.

Michael C. Rechin, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “Our third quarter 2012 results are gratifying and a source of strength providing flexibility in capital planning, business line investment and acquisition considerations. We continue to effectively create value through this low interest rate cycle by growing loans while maintaining disciplined pricing and credit standards. Our traditionally strong net interest margin should continue to be incrementally supported by yield accretion resulting from our FDIC acquisition in February.”

Year-to-date earnings per share totaled $1.09, a $.99 per share increase over the prior year total of $.10 per share. Of the $.99 per share improvement, $.32 is the result of improvements made to our banking model during the year, including business line expansion and consistent market coverage. In addition, $.46 per share is related to the CPP repayment in the third quarter of 2011, and $.21 is related to the one-time gain on the Corporation’s FDIC purchase and assumption agreement with SCB Bank in Shelbyville, Indiana, during the first quarter of 2012. Year-to-date net income available to common shareholders totaled $31.4 million compared to $2.6 million earned in the first nine months of 2011.

Total assets equaled $4.3 billion, as loans and investments total $2.8 billion and $929 million, respectively. The Corporation’s loan-to-deposit ratio remained steady at 89 percent while the loan-to-asset ratio increased one percentage point to 67 percent.

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