RENTON, Wash., Jan. 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Financial Northwest, Inc. (the "Company") (Nasdaq:FFNW), the holding company for First Savings Bank Northwest (the "Bank"), today reported net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2012 of $1.5 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $791,000, or $0.04 per diluted share for the quarter ended September 30, 2012 and net income of $927,000, or $0.05 per diluted share for the comparable quarter in 2011. For the year ended December 31, 2012, net income was $2.7 million or $0.15 per diluted share, compared to $4.2 million, or $0.24 per diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2011. "Net income of $1.5 million for the fourth quarter indicates a significant improvement from our third quarter. Currently, key financial indicators appear to be trending in the right direction. Loan originations, primarily multifamily and commercial real estate, were $54.2 million for the quarter, an increase of 77.1% from the third quarter, providing the Bank with the momentum to diversify its loan portfolio by lessening the concentration of one-to-four family loans and other loan types. Additionally, our exposure to construction loans declined during 2012. Our efforts to reduce nonperforming assets is reflected in a further $824,000 decrease in nonperforming loans during the fourth quarter to $22.8 million at December 31, 2012 and a $1.9 million decrease in other real estate owned ("OREO") to $17.3 million. Total loans declined during 2012, however, decreases in nonperforming assets, combined with new loan originations, increased our performing assets and contributed to improvements in our net interest rate spread and margins for both the current quarter and the year. Loan delinquencies also declined, showing indications that several components of asset quality continue to improve. On the liability side of our balance sheet, our excess liquidity allowed us to pay off a high cost $50.0 million advance that matured in January 2013, which will have a positive effect on both our cost of funds and net interest margin in the future. In addition, our certificate of deposit accounts continued to decrease during the fourth quarter, as part of our strategic plan to lower our cost of funds and increase our spreads," stated Joseph W. Kiley III, President and Chief Executive Officer of First Savings Bank Northwest.