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Lake City Bank Continues Strong Financial Performance

WARSAW, Ind., Oct. 25, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Lakeland Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:LKFN), parent company of Lake City Bank, today reported the highest quarterly and nine month net income and earnings per share in its 140 year history. The Company achieved record net income of $9.3 million for the third quarter of 2012, an increase of 11% versus $8.4 million in the third quarter of 2011. Diluted net income per share increased 10% to a record level of $0.57 in the third quarter versus $0.52 for the comparable period of 2011.

The Company also announced that the Board of Directors approved a cash dividend for the third quarter of $0.17 per share, payable on November 5, 2012 to shareholders of record as of October 25, 2012. The quarterly dividend represents a 10% increase over the quarterly dividends paid in 2011.

Michael L. Kubacki, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our execution focused team continues to provide us with the ability to deliver great service and technology-driven products to our customer, which in turn provides very strong results for our shareholders."

Kubacki continued, "In 2012, we are celebrating our 140th anniversary. When the Bank was founded in 1872, the name Lake City Bank was on the front door and it is still there today. We're proud of our legacy as a true Indiana community bank and our continuing strong performance reaffirms our reputation as one of the leading community banks in the state and allows us to effectively compete with banks of all sizes."

The Company further reported record net income of $26.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 versus $22.4 million for the comparable period of 2011, an increase of 20%. Diluted net income per common share also set a new record and increased 19% to $1.63 for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 versus $1.37 for the comparable period of 2011.

Average total loans for the third quarter of 2012 were $2.22 billion versus $2.16 billion for the third quarter of 2011, an increase of 3%. On a linked quarter basis, average loans decreased by $5 million compared to the second quarter of 2012. Total loans outstanding grew $22 million, or 1%, from $2.18 billion as of September 30, 2011 to $2.20 billion as of September 30, 2012. Gross loans outstanding at September 30, 2012 represented a decrease of $30 million versus $2.23 billion as of December 31, 2011. Driving this $30 million decrease in net loans outstanding were anticipated reductions in nonowner occupied commercial real estate loans of $77 million and seasonal reductions in total agribusiness loans of $24 million.

David M. Findlay, President and Chief Financial Officer, stated, "One of the biggest challenges we have faced in 2012 is loan growth, which is directly tied to the economy of our region and overall business expansion. From an economic strength perspective, we believe that the key reasons for some of the decreases are encouraging. Our commercial real estate loan balances have been significantly reduced in 2012 by the successful placement of long term, fixed rate financing. This is good for our clients and a positive sign that outside investors are returning to long term real estate activity. Yet, we have not seen any significant demand for new commercial real estate projects that fit our profile to replenish this runoff. On the agribusiness front, the reduction in loan balances is a positive reflection of the general health of this sector and the strength of the industry's balance sheets. Finally, loan demand in our traditional commercial and industrial sector has not been robust as these clients continue to be focused on strengthening their balance sheets through operational profitability. As a result, we are not seeing widespread or significant capital investment in buildings or equipment."

Findlay concluded, "We continue to be well positioned in our markets to capitalize on improved loan demand when it occurs. We believe that we've got the best commercial lending team in the markets we serve and look forward to the inevitable economic recovery and the loan demand it will bring."

The Company's net interest margin was 3.30% in the third quarter of 2012 versus 3.48% for the third quarter of 2011 and 3.32% in the linked second quarter of 2012. The year-over-year margin decline resulted primarily from reduced yields in the investment portfolio and slightly lower commercial loan yields as interest rates continue to be at historic lows. For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, the Company's net interest margin was 3.34% versus 3.60% for the comparable period in 2011.

The Company's tangible common equity to tangible assets ratio was 9.90% at September 30, 2012 compared to 9.40% at September 30, 2011 and 9.58% at June 30, 2012. Average total deposits for the quarter ended September 30, 2012 were $2.49 billion versus $2.55 billion for the second quarter of 2012 and $2.32 billion for the third quarter of 2011.

The Company's provision for loan losses in the third quarter of 2012 was $0 versus $2.4 million in the same period of 2011. In the second quarter of 2012, the provision was $500,000. For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, the Company's provision for loan losses was $1.3 million versus $10.9 million for the comparable period in 2011. The provision decrease on a year-over-year basis was generally driven by the stabilization and improvement in key loan quality metrics, adequate reserve coverage of nonperforming loans, continuing signs of stabilization in the economic conditions of the Company's markets and general signs of improvement in our borrowers' performance and future prospects. The Company's allowance for loan losses as of September 30, 2012 was $51.9 million compared to $52.1 million as of September 30, 2011 and $53.4 million as of December 31, 2011. The allowance for loan losses represented 2.36% of total loans as of September 30, 2012 versus 2.39% at September 30, 2011 and 2.34% as of June 30, 2012. The allowance for loan losses represented 156% of nonperforming loans as of September 30, 2012 versus 157% at September 30, 2011 and 150% as of June 30, 2012.

Net recoveries totaled $96,000 in the third quarter of 2012 versus net charge-offs of $1.6 million during the third quarter of 2011 and net charge-offs of $1.4 million during the linked second quarter of 2012. The largest charge-off attributable to a single commercial credit during the quarter was $112,000. For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, net charge-offs were $2.8 million versus $3.8 million for the comparable period in 2011. Nonperforming assets decreased 6% to $34.0 million as of September 30, 2012 versus $36.2 million as of September 30, 2011. On a linked quarter basis, nonperforming assets were 6% lower than the $36.4 million reported as of June 30, 2012. The decrease in nonperforming assets during the quarter primarily resulted from sales of other real estate owned as well as payments received on nonperforming loans. The ratio of nonperforming assets to total assets at September 30, 2012 was 1.15% versus 1.28% at September 30, 2011 and 1.22% at June 30, 2012. Total watch list loans were $150.7 million at September 30, 2012 versus $166.5 million at September 30, 2011, a decrease of 9%.

The Company's noninterest income increased 5% to $6.2 million for the third quarter of 2012, versus $5.9 million for the third quarter of 2011. On a linked quarter basis, noninterest income increased by $417,000 from $5.8 million in the second quarter of 2012. On a year-over-year basis, noninterest income was positively impacted by a $162,000 increase in loan, insurance and service fees and a $150,000 increase in mortgage banking income. In addition, other income was positively impacted by gains on the sale of other real estate of $174,000 during the third quarter of 2012, versus write downs on the value of other real estate during the third quarter of 2011 of $88,000. Noninterest income was negatively impacted by $380,000 in net losses on securities sales related to a strategic realignment in the investment portfolio, which included the sale of nine non-agency mortgage backed securities. The sale included all five of the non-agency mortgage backed securities on which the Company had previously recognized other than temporary impairment.

The Company's noninterest expense increased 6% to $14.3 million in the third quarter of 2012, versus $13.5 million in the comparable quarter of 2011. On a linked quarter basis, noninterest expense increased by $53,000 versus $14.2 million in the second quarter of 2012. On a year-over-year basis, data processing fees increased by $414,000 in the three-month period ended September 30, 2012 versus the same period of 2011. In addition, equipment costs increased $105,000 in the three month period ended September 30, 2012 versus the same period of 2011. The Company's efficiency ratio for the third quarter of 2012 was 50%, compared to a ratio of 47% for the comparable quarter of 2011 and 51% for the linked second quarter of 2012.

Lakeland Financial Corporation is a $3.0 billion bank holding company headquartered in Warsaw, Indiana. Lake City Bank serves Indiana with 45 branches located in the following Indiana counties: Kosciusko, Elkhart, Allen, St. Joseph, DeKalb, Fulton, Hamilton, Huntington, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, Pulaski and Whitley.

Lakeland Financial Corporation may be accessed on the home page of its subsidiary, Lake City Bank, at www.lakecitybank.com. The Company's common stock is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under "LKFN".

In addition to the results presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America, this press release contains certain non-GAAP financial measures. Lakeland Financial believes that providing non-GAAP financial measures provides investors with information useful to understanding Lakeland Financial's financial performance. Additionally, these non-GAAP measures are used by management for planning and forecasting purposes, including measures based on "tangible common equity" which is "common stockholders' equity" excluding intangible assets, net of deferred tax. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to the most comparable GAAP equivalent is included in the attached financial tables where the non-GAAP measure is presented.

This document contains, and future oral and written statements of the Company and its management may contain, forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 with respect to the financial condition, results of operations, plans, objectives, future performance and business of the Company. Forward-looking statements, which may be based upon beliefs, expectations and assumptions of the Company's management and on information currently available to management, are generally identifiable by the use of words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "plan," "intend," "estimate," "may," "will," "would," "could," "should" or other similar expressions. Additionally, all statements in this document, including forward-looking statements, speak only as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update any statement in light of new information or future events. Additional information concerning the Company and its business, including factors that could materially affect the Company's financial results, is included in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K.

LAKELAND FINANCIAL CORPORATION THIRD QUARTER 2012 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended Sep. 30, Jun. 30, Sep. 30, Sep. 30, Sep. 30, 2012 2012 2011 2012 2011 END OF PERIOD BALANCES AVERAGE BALANCES INCOME STATEMENT DATA PER SHARE DATA KEY RATIOS ASSET QUALITY

LAKELAND FINANCIAL CORPORATION CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS As of September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011 September 30, 2012 (Unaudited) ASSETS $ 134,785 46,617 181,402 481,256 6,707 2,151,476 34,969 40,848 9,735 4,970 60 40,785 $ 2,952,208 LIABILITIES AND EQUITY LIABILITIES $ 357,531 2,118,566 2,476,097 0 118,552 118,552 15,414 1,189 15,038 30,928 2,657,218 EQUITY 89,255 200,615 6,644 (1,613) 294,901 89 294,990 $ 2,952,208

LAKELAND FINANCIAL CORPORATION CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME For the Three Months and Nine Months Ended September 30, 2012 and 2011 (in thousands except for share and per share data) (unaudited) Three Months Ended Nine Months Ended September 30, September 30, 2012 2012 NET INTEREST INCOME $ 25,803 $ 77,789 109 333 2,034 7,425 698 2,094 16 43 28,660 87,684 5,989 19,352 112 329 399 1,198 6,500 20,879 NET INTEREST INCOME 22,160 66,805 0 1,299 NET INTEREST INCOME AFTER PROVISION FOR LOAN LOSSES 22,160 65,506 NONINTEREST INCOME 959 2,770 695 2,435 2,045 5,937 1,421 4,062 297 902 669 1,614 590 1,574 (380) (377) (67) (1,052) 0 26 (67) (1,026) 6,229 17,891 NONINTEREST EXPENSE 8,569 26,007 803 2,519 641 1,854 1,143 3,044 3,146 9,807 14,302 43,231 INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAX EXPENSE 14,087 40,166 4,740 13,374 NET INCOME $ 9,347 $ 26,792 BASIC WEIGHTED AVERAGE COMMON SHARES 16,340,425 16,312,896 BASIC EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE $ 0.57 $ 1.64 DILUTED WEIGHTED AVERAGE COMMON SHARES 16,490,390 16,470,485 DILUTED EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE $ 0.57 $ 1.63

LAKELAND FINANCIAL CORPORATION LOAN DETAIL THIRD QUARTER 2012 (unaudited in thousands)

CONTACT: David M. Findlay President and Chief Financial Officer (574) 267-9197 david.findlay@lakecitybank.com

Lake City Bank