WARSAW, Ind., Jan. 25, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lakeland Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:LKFN), parent company of Lake City Bank, today reported record net income of $24.5 million for 2010. This performance represents a $5.5 million, or 29%, increase in net income versus $19.0 million for 2009. Michael L. Kubacki, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We're proud of this performance in a challenging economic environment for us and our clients. While record earnings are the focal point of our performance, we're equally proud of the further balance sheet strengthening that occurred in 2010." The Company also reported that diluted net income per common share was $1.32 for 2010 versus $1.26 for 2009, an increase of 5%. Earnings per share performance for 2010 was negatively impacted by the Company's June 2010 redemption of the TARP preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury Department. As a result of this redemption, the Company recognized a one-time non-cash reduction in net income available to common shareholders of $1.8 million, which represented the remaining unamortized accretion of the discount on the preferred shares. Excluding the impact of this redemption, diluted earnings per share would have been $1.43 for 2010 versus $1.26 for 2009, an increase of 13%. The Company further reported net income of $5.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, which represented a 7% increase over $5.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. Diluted net income per share for the quarter increased 13% to $0.36 versus $0.32 for the comparable period of 2009. The Company also announced that the Board of Directors approved a cash dividend for the fourth quarter of $0.155 per share, payable on February 7, 2011 to shareholders of record as of January 25, 2011. Average total loans for 2010 of $2.05 billion represented a $147 million, or 8%, increase versus $1.90 billion in 2009. Average total loans for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $2.08 billion versus $1.96 billion for the fourth quarter of 2009 and $2.06 billion for the linked third quarter of 2010. On a linked quarter basis, average loans increased by $21 million versus the third quarter of 2010.