CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Jan. 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Message from our President & CEO First Busey Corporation's (Nasdaq:BUSE) net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $4.9 million and net income available to common shareholders was $4.0 million, or $0.05 per fully-diluted common share. These results were consistent with the third quarter in all three measures as shown in the financial tables accompanying this release. In comparison, the Company reported net income of $5.7 million and net income available to common shareholders of $4.5 million, or $0.05 per fully-diluted common share, for the fourth quarter of 2011. Fourth quarter net income was influenced by impairments and exit costs relating to previously announced branch closures totaling approximately $1.8 million, as well as securities gains of $1.0 million and private equity fund gains of $0.7 million. In addition, we continued to experience temporary elevation in data processing and other costs of approximately $0.4 million related to the conversion of our core data processing system which was executed late in the third quarter. We believe that the majority of the conversion's impacts are now behind us, and we expect the focus moving forward to be on optimizing data and reporting capabilities working alongside our new service partner. Other unusual expenses for the quarter included staff-related restructuring costs of $0.6 million designed to address the changing needs of our organization beyond our retail network, as we refine our operating model for the future and seek to balance growth with efficiency. In addition, income tax expense increased this quarter by $0.2 million relative to the third quarter of 2012, in part due to the State of Illinois enterprise zone reform which eliminated certain tax exemptions for which we previously qualified. First Busey Corporation's net income for the year ended December 31, 2012 was $22.4 million and net income available to common shareholders was $18.7 million, or $0.22 per fully-diluted common share, as compared to net income of $29.9 million and net income available to common shareholders of $24.5 million, or $0.29 per fully-diluted common share, for the year ended December 31, 2011. As net interest income margins have compressed, non-interest income sources of revenue have increased, as discussed in greater detail in the Operating Performance section of this report. The changes in net income from year to year are a reflection in large part of the previously disclosed commitment to our commercial banking and wealth management businesses, which have increased certain costs. This commitment is the centerpiece of our long term strategy to build quality asset and fee growth based upon solid capital and a careful balance of risk and return.