BankUnited Inc., which last week confirmed a short-lived effort to sell itself, said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter earnings rose nearly 50% from a year earlier, to $41 million.

Net income fell 10% from the third quarter. The Miami Lakes, Fla., company said in a press release that its fourth quarter included a pretax loss of $14.3 million from selling covered loans.

Full-year net income fell 66% from 2010, to $63.2 million, though a big reason for the decline was a $110.4 million one-time charge tied to last year's initial public offering.

BankUnited continued its aggressive growth expansion in Florida, adding 12 branches during the fourth quarter. The company added $1.2 billion in new loans during 2011, outpacing its resolution of covered loans.

"The bank has very strong momentum of both balance sheet growth and earnings as we head into" 2012, said John A. Kanas, the company's president and CEO, in the release. He said the company expected to complete its purchase of Herald National Bank in New York this quarter.

BankUnited now has 95 branches and plans to open 10 more in Florida this year.

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