Non-interest income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, was $17.3 million compared with $17.5 million for the prior year, a decrease of $0.2 million, or 1.0%. The decline was primarily due to decreases of $0.8 million in net gain on securities transactions and $0.6 million in revenue from our equity investment in Cephas Capital Partners, L.P. These items were partially offset by $0.8 million in casualty gains from insurance reimbursements related to the September 2011 flooding of our Owego and Tioga offices and an increase of $0.3 million in net gain on sale of loans held for sale.
Non-interest income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $4.2 million, a slight increase compared with both the preceding quarter and same quarter in the prior year, primarily due to an increase in net gain on sales of loans held for sale.
Non-Interest Expense:Non-interest expense for the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, was $46.8 million compared with $44.8 million for the prior year, an increase of $2.0 million, or 4.6%. Excluding $2.2 million in merger related expenses from the prior year, non-interest expense increased $4.3 million, or 10.1%, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2012. This increase was primarily due to increases of $1.8 million in salaries and wages, $0.8 million in pension and other employee benefits, $0.5 million in data processing expenses and $0.5 million in professional services. The increase in salaries and wages was primarily due to the operation of the Capital Bank division for twelve months during 2012 compared with nine months during 2011, and additional compensation related to merit increases and incentive compensation. The increase in pension and other employee benefits was primarily due to higher pension costs, health benefits and payroll taxes. The increase in data processing expenses was primarily due to higher hardware and software maintenance fees and check card processing costs that included conversion costs for a new processor. The increase in professional services was due primarily to consultant fees.