MACON, Ga., Nov. 2, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Atlantic Southern Financial Group (Nasdaq:ASFN) today reported a net loss of $3.7 million, or $0.87 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2010 compared to a net loss of $8.3 million, or $1.97 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2009. The net loss was primarily driven by adding $2.2 million to the allowance for loan losses and paying approximately $1.1 million in FDIC quarterly assessments. Atlantic Southern's net loss for the first nine months of 2010 was $9.3 million, or $2.22 per diluted share compared to the net loss of $31.3 million, or $7.44 per diluted share, for the first nine months of 2009 which included the non-recurring charge for goodwill impairment of $19.5 million. The net interest income for the third quarter of 2010 was $3.9 million compared to $4.0 million for the same period a year earlier. The net interest margin was 2.07 percent for the third quarter of 2010 compared to 1.56 percent for the third quarter of 2009. The net interest income for the nine months ended September 30, 2010 was $12.1 million compared to $13.9 million for the same period a year earlier, which represents a decrease of $1.8 million. The net interest margin was 2.00 percent for the nine months ended September 30, 2010 compared to 1.97 percent for the same period a year earlier. "Our cost of funds continues to trend downward, our average assets decreased by $251.3 million, and we experienced a decline in the level of new problem loans. As a result, our net interest margin improved 51 basis points over the third quarter of 2009. The margin should continue to rebound over the next several quarters as our credit quality improves and our cost of funds continues to decrease," stated Mark Stevens, president and chief executive officer.