Associated Banc-Corp in Green Bay, Wis., Thursday reported better-than-expected third quarter results due to a slowdown in credit deterioration.

The $23 billion-asset Associated said that it earned $8.7 million after paying preferred dividends, or 7 cents a share. Analysts on average had expected the company to lose 9 cents a share.

Provision for loan losses rose 73% from a year earlier, but fell 38% from the second quarter, to $95.4 million. Though net chargeoffs and nonperformers rose from the second quarter, the rate of deterioration slowed.

Net interest income rose 7.6% from a year earlier, to $179.2 million, but was flat from the second quarter due in large part to a decline in commercial loan balances.

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