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Heritage Financial Group, Inc. 2012 Net Income Up 77% Versus 2011, Increasing To $6.8 Million Or $0.85 Per Diluted Share

"While we expect to face ongoing challenges in 2013 regarding both the competitive and interest rate environments, we remain confident in our outlook for the coming year," Dorminey continued. "Considering the fundamental strength of our operations, the success we have achieved in integrating recent acquisitions, our expanded footprint in the Southeast, and bolstered by anticipated cost reductions, we look forward to a successful and promising year in 2013."

Expense Management Initiatives

During the third quarter of 2012, the Company completed an early retirement program for certain employees announced during the second quarter of 2012 at a cost of $641,000. It is anticipated that the early retirement program will generate annual savings of approximately $700,000 per year beginning in 2013.

Additionally, during the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company closed two branches, one each in Collins and Guyton, Georgia, which were acquired in FDIC-assisted acquisitions. Combined, these branches had loans of approximately $5 million and deposits of $13 million. The Company does not expect to experience a significant reduction in customer relationships in these areas and will seek to service these customers from nearby branches. The Company anticipates expense savings of approximately $500,000 per year beginning in 2013 related to these closures.

Capital Management Initiatives

During the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company paid a special one-time dividend of $0.20 per share in addition to the normal quarterly dividend of $0.04 per share. The special one-time dividend was equivalent to and in lieu of regular quarterly dividends that would have been anticipated to be paid in 2013. The Company also repurchased approximately 73,000 shares of common stock at an average price of $13.50 under its stock repurchase program. The program, which expires in October 2013 unless extended or otherwise completed, has a remaining authorization to repurchase approximately 324,000 shares.

During the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company's previously announced shelf offering on Form S-3 with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") became effective. Under the shelf registration statement, the Company may offer and sell from time to time in the future, in one or more offerings, common stock, preferred stock, debt securities, warrants, depositary shares, or units consisting of any combination of the foregoing. The aggregate offering price of all securities that could be sold under the registration statement may not exceed $60 million.

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