MIDLAND, Mich., Jan. 27, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Chemical Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:CHFC) today announced 2013 fourth quarter net income of $14.4 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, up 14.3% on a diluted per share basis over 2012 fourth quarter net income of $11.7 million, or $0.42 per diluted share. For the twelve months ended December 31, 2013, net income was $56.8 million, or $2.00 per diluted share, an increase of 8.1% on a diluted per share basis compared to net income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2012 of $51.0 million, or $1.85 per diluted share. "Fourth quarter 2013 earnings per share increased 14% over fourth quarter 2012 results, capping a strong year of earnings for Chemical Financial Corporation shareholders. Robust organic balance sheet growth, improving credit quality metrics and a focus on controlling costs led to consistent earnings improvement over the course of the year. While we remain confident in our prospects going forward, it is important to remember that future earnings improvement will be driven increasingly by overall balance sheet and fee income growth coupled with vigilant cost discipline, as opposed to credit quality improvements and cost cutting," said David B. Ramaker, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President. "As our economy improves, we expect to see continued organic growth in 2014. By making Chemical Bank the community-oriented, Michigan-centric, financial institution of choice in the markets we serve---and seeking to partner with like-minded institutions in the state as Michigan's banking industry consolidates---we believe we are well positioned to achieve additional competitive and acquisitive market share gains as we move forward," Ramaker added. Net income of $14.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $0.6 million, or 4.1%, lower than the third quarter of 2013, with higher net interest income and a lower provision for loan losses offset by slightly lower noninterest income and higher operating expenses in the fourth quarter of 2013. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $2.7 million, or 23%, higher than the fourth quarter of 2012, primarily attributable to a combination of higher net interest income and a lower provision for loan losses. Net income of $56.8 million in 2013 was $5.8 million, or 11.4%, higher than 2012, with higher net interest income and noninterest income and a lower provision for loan losses partially offset by higher operating expenses.