Bank of the Ozarks in Little Rock, Ark., reported a higher profit in the fourth quarter behind record net interest income.

The $6.8 billion-asset company said late Thursday that net income rose 42% from a year earlier, to $34.8 million. Earnings per share of 43 cents met the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Net interest income rose 42% from the same quarter a year earlier, to $78.7 million. Though net interest margin narrowed 10 basis points year over year, to 5.53%, the company's larger loan book drove the increase in interest income.

Total loans increased 53% year over year, to $5.13 billion, partly because of acquisitions. Bank of the Ozarks bought the $300 million-asset Bancshares Inc. in Houston in March and the $1.2 billion-asset Summit Bancorp in Arkadelphia, Ark., in May.

Noninterest income jumped 50% from the fourth quarter of 2013, to $27.9 million. Contributors included a 43% increase in mortgage lending income, to $1.4 million, and a 16% increase in service charges on deposit accounts, to $7 million.

Noninterest expenses increased 39%, to $48.2 million, which included prepayment penalties of $8.1 million and approximately $1.1 million in acquisition-related and systems conversions expenses.

The company recorded a $6.3 million loan-loss provision for the fourth quarter, compared to $2.9 million during the same quarter last year.

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