BankUnited (BKU) of Miami Lakes, Fla., reported better-than-expected earnings in the fourth quarter as a surge in interest income more than offset a dip in fee income and the impact of a penalty for pre-paying Federal Home Loan bank advances.

The $12.4 billion-asset company said Tuesday that it earned $62.5 million in quarter, up 51% from the fourth quarter of 2011. Per-share earnings of 61 cents were 13 cents above the expectations of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

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