Lower noninterest expenses and a declining provision for credit losses led Bank of Hawaii (BOH) in Honolulu to second-quarter net income of $40.7 million, up almost 16% from a year earlier.

The $13.9 billion-asset company's earnings per share totaled 90 cents, beating estimates of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters by three cents. For the first six months of the year, the company earned $84.6 million, up 9% from the same period a year earlier.

Loan and lease balances climbed 6%, to $5.7 billion, year over year. Commercial mortgage loans increased 10%, to $962 million year over year while construction loans rose 20%, to $97.7 million. Residential mortgages climbed almost 13%, to $2.4 billion.

Loan balances continued to grow and deposits remained strong; however, the company's net interest margin declined because of continuing low interest rates, Peter Ho, the company's chairman and chief executive, said in a news release on Monday. Bank of Hawaii's net interest margin was 2.98% for the second quarter, an 18 basis point decrease from a year earlier.

Net interest income remained relatively flat at $97.9 million from a year earlier while noninterest income totaled $46.8 million, down about 5% from a year earlier.

A 6% drop in salaries and benefits led to a 14% drop in noninterest expense, to $80.7 million, from a year earlier. The second quarter of 2011 included a $9 million settlement to end a lawsuit over its overdraft protection practices.

The allowance for loan and lease losses fell more than 8%, to $132.4 million, year over year while the provision for credit losses totaled $628,000, down 82% from a year earlier. However, nonperforming assets increased 21%, to $41.5 million, from a year earlier.

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