First Financial Corp. (THFF) in Terre Haute, Ind., reported a 5% increase in third-quarter profit as its provision for loan losses decreased.

The $3 billion-asset company earned $8.5 million, up from $8.1 million a year earlier, First Financial said Tuesday.

Its net interest income rose 1%, to $27.8 million, as its deposit costs fell. First Financial's net interest margin tightened 25 basis points, to 4.16%. It recorded a $495,000 provision for loan losses, down from $2.6 million.

First Financial's noninterest income dropped by 1%, to $9.6 million, as gains on loan sales declined. Noninterest expense rose 8%, to $24.8 million, as the company's full-time employees increased by 4% from the expansion of its branch network. It bought nine Illinois branches from Bank of America (BAC), along with $252 million in deposits, earlier this year.

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