ESB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: ESBF), the parent company of ESB Bank, today announced earnings of $0.26 per diluted share on net income of $3.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, which represents a 4.0% increase in net income per diluted share as compared to earnings of $0.25 per diluted share on net income of $3.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2011. The Company’s annualized return on average assets and average equity were 0.77% and 8.20%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, as compared to 0.77% and 8.69%, respectively at March 31, 2011. Charlotte A. Zuschlag, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, stated, “The Board of Directors, senior management and I are pleased with the improvement in earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. We have been successful and prudent in managing our net interest rate margin during this difficult interest rate environment while protecting our asset quality and our future earnings potential. We continue to experience growth in our core deposits which assists in reducing our cost of funds. Our deposits grew $33.9 million since December 2011 and our net income improved 3.4% over the quarter ended March 31, 2011.” Ms. Zuschlag concluded by stating, “Management will continue to strive to pursue growth opportunities that will provide a sound investment return to our shareholders.” Net income for the first quarter of 2012, as compared to the first quarter of 2011, increased by $125,000, or 3.4%, due to increases in net interest income after provision for loan losses and non-interest income of $280,000 and $234,000, respectively, as well as decreases to the noncontrolling interest and provision for income taxes of $100,000 and $51,000, respectively, partially offset by an increase in non-interest expense, of $540,000. The $280,000 increase in net interest income after provision for loan losses for the first quarter of 2012 was due to a $1.3 million, or 13.8%, decrease in interest expense, and a $100,000, or 33.3%, decrease in provision for loan losses, partially offset by a $1.1 million, or 5.4% decrease in interest income.