Beneficial Mutual Bancorp (BNCL) reported lower net income that still managed to meet Wall Street expectations.

The $4.6 billion-asset company's earnings fell 21% from a year earlier, to $3 million. At 4 cents, its earnings per share topped the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by a penny.

Net interest income fell 9% from a year earlier, to $30.2 million, because of lower loan balances and reduced yields on investment and loans. The net interest margin compressed 14 basis points from a year earlier, to 2.78%. Loans fell 4% from the end of 2012, to $2.3 billion.

"We were able to stabilize the loan portfolio," Beneficial President and Chief Executive Gerard Cuddy said in a press release. "Our top priority remains improving our balance sheet mix, building out our lending teams and growing our loan portfolio."

Noninterest income fell 23% from a year earlier, to $5.3 million. Beneficial had a $1.7 million decrease in the securities gains. Noninterest expense fell slightly from the fourth quarter of 2012, to $29.9 million.

Beneficial loan-loss provision fell 75% from a year earlier, to $1.5 million. Net chargeoffs decreased 355 from the fourth quarter of 2012, to $2.7 million.

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