The U.S. operations of BMO Financial Group reported a 50% increase in its fiscal fourth quarter earnings, as credit costs decreased and revenue increased.

The company in Toronto reported that its U.S. personal and commercial banking business earned $163 million for its fourth quarter, which ended Oct. 31. The U.S. operations also reported fiscal 2014 earnings of $636 million for the year, up 2.7% from a year earlier. The company owns BMO Harris Bank in Chicago.

The bank set aside $38 million for loan losses in the quarter, down 59% from a year earlier. In a press release, the company said the reduction was attributed to "lower new provisions in the consumer and commercial portfolios."  

Net interest income was $576 million, close to a 4% increase, while non-interest revenue was $129 million, an approximate 4% decrease. Total revenue was $705 million, up 2.5%.

Non-interest expenses were flat at $460 million, while net interest margin on average earning assets was 3.64%, 18 basis points less than last year's fourth quarter.

According to the company loans and acceptances increased 9% from a year earlier and 2% from the prior quarter. BMO Harris' commercial and industrial loan portfolio grew 21%, to $28.5 billion, while the company said that it saw expected declines in mortgage and home equity portfolios.

BMO Harris Bank maintained its second place position in the Chicago deposit market, with a 12.1% market share. The bank also held 13.6% of deposit market share in Wisconsin.

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