BB&T in Winston-Salem, N.C., reported higher quarterly earnings despite flat revenue.

The $187 billion-asset company's third-quarter profit, including dividends paid on preferred stock, nearly doubled from a year earlier, to $520 million. Earnings per share of 71 cents met analysts' expectations. The third quarter of 2013 included a large tax provision.

Revenue increased marginally from the previous quarter and fell 2% from a year earlier, to $2.3 billion.

Noninterest expenses of $1.6 billion were also flat despite BB&T's desire to cut costs. The quarter included a $76 million after-tax loss from the extinguishment of debt that Kelly King, BB&T's chairman and chief executive, said will help the company take advantage of low interest rates.

BB&T also sold $550 million of residential mortgages — mostly performing troubled-debt restructurings — for a $26 million after-tax gain. Moreover, the company had from a $50 million tax benefit during the quarter.

Some analysts highlighted the higher-than-expected expenses. John Pancari at Evercore Partners wrote in a note to clients that he had expected a nearly 4% decline in noninterest expenses, while Keith Horowitz at Citigroup said that "expense benefits came in slower than we anticipated."

Net interest income was flat from the second quarter and down 5% from a year earlier, to $1.3 billion. Total loans were also flat from June 30, largely a result of the mortgage sales, and deposits fell by 1%. The net interest margin compressed by 5 basis points from the second quarter and 30 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.38%.

Noninterest income rose nominally from the second quarter and 3% from a year earlier, to $936 million.

Credit quality continued to improve; nonperforming assets fell 4% from the second quarter and 24% from a year earlier, to $883 million.

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