BERNARDSVILLE, N.J., Jan. 24, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Somerset Hills Bancorp (Nasdaq:SOMH) (the "Company"), parent company of Somerset Hills Bank (the "Bank"), today reported full-year net income of $3.4 million for 2012, a 20.1% increase over the $2.8 million earned in 2011. On a fully diluted per share basis, net income was $0.63 per share for 2012 and $0.52 per share for 2011. For the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company earned $844,000, representing a 2.7% increase from 2011 fourth quarter net income of $822,000. Diluted earnings per share amounted to $0.16 in the fourth quarter of both 2012 and 2011. Stewart E. McClure, Jr., President and CEO, noted, "The Company reported another quarter of good financial results despite a continuing difficult operating environment for banks that has been marked by high levels of unemployment and weak real estate valuations. Both the Company's and the banking industry's net interest margins continue to be under duress as longer term assets reprice at increasingly lower levels as a result of the lingering low interest rate environment. Our credit quality remains strong as nonaccrual loans were 0.31% of total loans at the end of 2012. In addition, our cost containment efforts have been instrumental in the improvement in our efficiency ratio to 61.9% for the year 2012, down from 66.8% for all of 2011." Net Interest Income (Tax Equivalent Basis) Fully taxable equivalent ("FTE") net interest income for 2012 was $12.1 million, up modestly, from the $12.0 million earned in 2011. The slight increase in net interest income during 2012 was primarily attributable to a 4.7% increase in average interest-earning assets to $334.0 million in 2012 from $318.9 million in 2011, which was partially offset by a 16 basis-point decline in the net interest margin to 3.62% in 2012 from 3.78% in 2011. FTE net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $2.9 million, a decline of $151,000, or 4.9%, from the $3.1 million earned in the fourth quarter of 2011. The decrease in FTE net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2012 from the same quarter of 2011 was primarily due to a 20 basis-point narrowing of the net interest margin to 3.35% from 3.55% for the fourth quarter of 2011. Growth in average interest earning assets of 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $346.7 million over $342.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 served to partially offset the decline in net interest income. Average total loans increased by 5.1% in the full-year comparison and by 2.7% in the fourth-quarter comparison.