Bank of Kentucky Financial (BKYF) in Crestview Hills reported higher earnings as credit issues subsided.

The $1.8 billion-asset company's fourth-quarter profit rose 2% from a year earlier, to $5 million. Earnings per share of 66 cents beat the average analysts' estimate by 14 cents, according to Bloomberg.

The loan-loss provision fell 41% from a year earlier, to $1.3 million. Chargeoffs fell 39% from the fourth quarter of 2011, to $1.3 million, reflecting lower levels of impaired loan reserves.

Net interest income increased 2% from a year earlier, to $14.3 million. The interest margin contracted by 3 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.52%.

Noninterest income edged up 1% from a year earlier, to $5.6 million, because of gains on real estate loans and an increase in trust-fee income. Noninterest expense rose 12% from a year earlier. "We continue to review opportunities to expand through acquisition, while striving to grow organically, investing in our core lines of business," Robert Zapp, the company's president and chief executive, said in a press release.

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