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First Busey Announces 2012 Fourth Quarter Earnings And Full Year Results

In the latter part of the year, we engaged in a renewed focus to carefully reexamine the structure of our franchise, asking ourselves the tough questions that ultimately drive healthy change; tactically growing in some areas while contracting in others. We committed to reduce our workforce in select areas of the Company based on our collective vision of the strongest path for broad-based future strength, profitability and growth, while renewing our strong commitment to superior customer service. To support a steady earnings flow to our shareholders, we elected to offset some of the related exit costs with securities gains. 

Busey customers are increasingly seeking mobile channels to flexibly manage their finances. Following an extensive analysis of both customer needs and shareholder value, we closed two limited service branches and one full service branch at the end of the fourth quarter. We also finalized plans to close four more branches in strategic markets spread across Illinois during the second quarter of 2013. Our research indicated customer usage patterns at those facilities were duplicated by other nearby branches, enabling us to deploy our resources more efficiently through consolidation of our network. In addition, the Company is expanding its toll-free customer support hours, and continually monitors avenues of development for innovative mobile channels of delivery. The process of understanding and optimizing best avenues for service distribution will be an ongoing exercise. Our streamlined retail network will continue as a dynamic funding source for the Company with a relationship-driven focus to help our clients and communities flourish.  

As we enter a new year, we will be monitoring our investments and revenue growth with the greatest of care as we strive to deliver optimal value to our Pillars. With a healthy capital foundation, consistent earnings and dividend history, strong credit quality, and a reinforced sales model, we believe we remain well positioned to explore potential external growth opportunities to enhance and complement our mission to achieve positive organic growth. We take pride in our past and look confidently towards our future, gratefully acknowledging the efforts of our associates, the business of our customers, and the continued support of Busey by you, our shareholders. 

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