Several major banking companies well grounded in the Midwest reported profit increases Thursday, but the same could not be said of BankBoston Corp.

In keeping with third-quarter earnings patterns established earlier in the week, the more internationally exposed BankBoston fell victim to foreign trading and emerging-markets pressures. Net income declined by 53% from a year earlier, to $105 million.

By contrast, Norwest Corp.'s earnings were up 15%, Comerica Inc.'s 13%, and KeyCorp's and PNC Bank Corp.'s 7% each.

"Loan growth is generally strong," with rates of increase holding constant despite worries about a slowing economy, said analyst Catherine Murray of J.P. Morgan Securities. "That is especially true among the Midwest banks."

Meanwhile, analysts were ready for the BankBoston slide. The earnings per share of 66 cents actually beat the consensus expectations by a penny.

"We at least know where the problems are, and they seem to be localized," said Nancy A. Bush, of Ryan Beck & Co. "All the numbers are right on target."

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