Continued loan growth and falling expenses helped Bank of Boston Corp. post operating income of $98 million for the third quarter, up 78% from the $55 million earned in the same period last year.

New England's second-largest banking company reported net income of $41 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, including a special merger and restructuring charge. Excluding that charge, Bank of Boston posted earnings of 82 cents per share, far exceeding Wall Street's expectation of 59 cents, according to Zachs Investment Research.

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