AUGUSTA, Ga., Jan. 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Georgia-Carolina Bancshares, Inc. (GECR) (the "Company"), parent company of First Bank of Georgia, today reported net income of $6,204,000, or $1.73 per diluted common share, for the year ended December 31, 2013. Remer Y. Brinson III, President & CEO of the Company stated, "We are very pleased to report another very strong earnings performance for 2013, similar to our record year in 2012. The 2013 earnings represent a 1.26% return on average assets and a 10.68% return on average equity. While slightly below the $6,621,000, or $1.84 per diluted common share, earned in 2012, we are very pleased with our 2013 results." Brinson continued, "2013 has been a year of transition as we've seen a continued gradual improvement in the economy and in loan demand. Traditional bank loan demand has increased during the second half of the year, while conventional mortgage loan demand declined somewhat during the period following a robust 2012 and early 2013. Loans, excluding loans held for sale, grew 3.3% this year to $275 million, while core deposits grew 7.9% to $267 million during the year. Loans held for sale declined 35% to $31 million, while total assets increased 2% since December 31, 2012 to $516,498,000." Net income for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 totaled $935,000, or $.26 per diluted common share, compared to $1,392,000, or $.39 per diluted common share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2012. Brinson reported, "Asset quality continues to improve as reflected by total non-performing assets declining from 1.93% of assets to 1.32% of assets during the year. In addition, recoveries exceeded charge offs during the year, resulting in a net recovery of 0.54% of average loans during the year." First Bank of Georgia also opened its seventh branch office in Evans, Georgia, during the second quarter of 2013.