Associated Banc-Corp (ASBC) in Green Bay, Wis., reported its highest quarterly profit since early 2008 as commercial and business lending surged.

The $22 billion-asset company said Thursday that its second-quarter earnings totaled $42 million, up more than 61% from a year earlier. Its earnings per share of 24 cents met the estimates from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

For the first six months of the year, Associated earned $83 million, more than double its income from the same period a year earlier.

Loan balances totaled $14.7 billion, up 12% from a year earlier and 3% higher than the prior quarter. Commercial and business lending climbed more than 22%, to $5.3 billion year over year.

Noninterest income fell 3%, to $76 million, from the first quarter. Lower service charges on deposit accounts and capital markets offset modest gains from insurance, card-based fees, trust service fees and brokerage revenue. 

During the second quarter, Associated also recorded a $3 million impairment charge on certain limited partnership investments and a $6 million write-down on software that went into production. It also was hurt by a $1 million decrease in bank-owned life insurance income and reduced net mortgage banking income of $1 million.

Associated completed its previously announced plan to close roughly 20 branches and the sale of three other branches in western Illinois. The sale resulted in a $6 million gain for the company.

Associated's shares were trading at $12.22 per share Friday afternoon, down more than 5% from Thursday's closing.

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