AUGUSTA, Ga., April 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. (OTCBB:GECR), parent company of First Bank of Georgia, today reported 2013 first quarter net income of $2,307,000 ($0.65 per diluted common share), compared to $1,284,000 ($0.36 per diluted common share) for the three months ended March 31, 2012. This net income represents a 16.36% return on average equity and a 1.94% return on average assets (both annualized). Book value totaled $16.40 per common share at March 31, 2013, up from $14.28 at March 31, 2012. Remer Y. Brinson III, President and CEO of the Company, stated, "We are pleased to report a record quarter of net income. Due to the continued improvement in our asset quality, we have conservatively reduced our loan loss reserve, in accordance with sound banking practices and proper accounting standards. However, we continue to maintain a healthy loan loss reserve and see improvement in asset quality. In addition, non-interest income included an $806,000 benefit on an insurance policy owned by the bank." "Deposit growth remains strong and grew 6.36% (annualized) during the first quarter of the year. Loans, excluding loans held for sale, increased slightly during the first quarter and totaled $266,430,000." Brinson continued, "We are excited about the opening of our seventh branch location which is located in the Kroger shopping center in Evans, Ga. This office will be open in early May and we look forward to serving this vibrant market. Mrs. Phyllis Salazar, Vice President and Office Manager, will be relocating from our West Town Office to deliver the same outstanding service that she and First Bank are known for by our history." Georgia-Carolina Bancshares' Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of common stock payable on May 14, 2013, to shareholders of record as of May 7, 2013. "This dividend represents a 12.5% increase in the $0.04 cash dividend paid in each of the previous four quarters," Brinson stated. "This increased dividend is a reflection of the stability of Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. and reflects a 1.28% return (annualized) on the last traded stock price of $14.10."