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First Security Group Announces 2013 Earnings

First Security Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSGI) (“First Security” or “FSG”) today reported net income available to common shareholders for 2013 of $11.4 million, as compared to a loss of $39.6 million for 2012. For the fourth quarter of 2013, First Security reported a net loss allocated to common shareholders of $646 thousand, as compared to a $1.4 million loss in the third quarter of 2013 and a $16.1 million loss for the fourth quarter of 2012.

“Last fall, we stated that it was essential to achieve significant improvement in loan and revenue growth,” said Michael Kramer, First Security’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “With nearly $50 million of loan growth and over $1 million of improvement in non-interest expense in the fourth quarter, the momentum towards a return to operating profitability is real and within reach.”

During the fourth quarter of 2013, loans increased $48.5 million, or 9.1% (36.3% annualized) to $583.1 million. Commercial real estate loans increased $39.3 million, residential 1-4 family loans increased $7.1 million and commercial and industrial loans increased $4.5 million.

For the fourth quarter of 2013, net interest income improved by $313 thousand, or 5.1%, to $6.5 million compared to $6.2 million for the linked third quarter of 2013. Total interest income declined by $22 thousand primarily due to lower interest income on investment securities as FSG sold approximately $22.8 million of investment securities to support higher yielding loan growth. As a majority of the fourth quarter loan growth was achieved in the latter half of the quarter, the full income impact will be realized in the first quarter of 2014. Total interest expense improved by $335 thousand through reductions in the costs of deposits as well as reductions in total deposits.

“Taking a step back and reviewing the steady quarterly improvement from each consecutive quarter in 2013, we reduced non-interest expense by at least $1 million each quarter while, at the same time, increasing total revenues (net interest income plus non-interest income) by an average of nearly $500 thousand each quarter,” said John Haddock, First Security’s EVP and Chief Financial Officer. “While we will remain focused on improving our operational efficiencies in 2014, we will also continue to actively restructure our earning asset mix by growing loans and reducing the excess liquidity in our investment portfolio to improve our overall yield and margin.”

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