Revenue from mortgage lending boosted Bank of Hawaii (BOH) in the fourth quarter.

Earnings at the $13.7 billion-asset company rose 2.6% from a year earlier, to $40.3 million.

Its loan book grew 7.4% from a year earlier, to $5.8 billion. The allowance for loan losses fell 7% year over year, to $128.9 million.

Net interest income fell 6.1% from the fourth quarter of 2011, to $90.3 million. The net interest margin tightened by 17 basis points from a year earlier, to 2.87%, because of lower yields.

But noninterest income rose 21.9% year over year, to roughly $53 million, because of higher fees from mortgage banking. Noninterest expense fell roughly 1% from a year earlier, to $83.5 million.

The efficiency ratio improved to 58.42%, from 60.42% in the fourth quarter of 2011.

"During the quarter loan balances increased across most categories and deposits continued to grow," Peter Ho, Bank of Hawaii's chief executive, said in a press release. "Credit quality remained solid, our balance sheet and capital ratios are strong, and we maintained our focus on disciplined expense management."

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