CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Jan. 25, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Busey Corporation's (Nasdaq:BUSE) net income was $7.3 million and net income available to common stockholders was $6.0 million, or $0.09 per fully-diluted common share, for the fourth quarter of 2010. In comparison, the company reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2009 of $27.6 million and a net loss available to common stockholders of $29.2 million, or $0.49 per fully-diluted common share.

Net income for the year ended December 31, 2010 was $23.2 million and net income available to common stockholders was $18.1 million, or $0.27 per fully-diluted common share, compared to a net loss in 2009 of $323.1 million and a net loss available to common stockholders of $327.9 million, or $7.85 per fully-diluted common share. The 2009 net loss was primarily due to total provision expense of $252.0 million, of which $54.0 million was in the fourth quarter and $208.2 million of goodwill impairment in the third quarter.

Our priorities remain balance sheet strength, profitability and growth – in that order . Since the first quarter of 2010, we have demonstrated improvement in non-performing loans, capital ratios and profitability in each quarter. We expect to continue to see gradual improvement in non-performing loans and profitability while maintaining high capital ratios.  

As noted in our prior quarter's release, we have turned much of our attention toward growth and raising capital to support our future growth plans. In December 2010, we completed offerings of our common stock and a series of convertible preferred stock, together yielding net proceeds of $84.3 million, pushing our total regulatory capital ratio in excess of 16% and our regulatory tier 1 capital and leverage ratios in excess of 15% and 11%, respectively. In January 2011, we delivered an initiative and the tools to our front line associates in an effort to spur organic growth. We also believe that the recent capital raise allows us to contemplate external growth opportunities as they become available.