Old National Bancorp's decision to repurchase branch offices that it had been leasing helped boost the Evansville, Ind., company's fourth-quarter profit.

Net income at the $12 billion-asset company rose 9.4% to $32 million, compared to a year earlier. Earnings per share rose 8% to 27 cents.

Yearly comparisons were skewed by Old National's January 2015 acquisition of Founders Bank & Trust in Grand Rapids, Mich. and its November 2014 purchase of Lafayette Savings Bank in Lafayette, Ind.

Results from this year's fourth quarter included several one-time items, including an $11.1 million pretax gain on the repurchase of 14 banking properties; $2.4 million of pretax charges to close branches and pay employee severance; and a $4.8 million pretax charge for the settlement of class-action overdraft-fee litigation.

Net interest income fell 4.6% to $85.9 million. Total loans rose 10% to $6.9 billion. The net interest margin narrowed to 3.5% from 3.83%.

Noninterest income rose 20% to $60.6 million. The category benefited from a $10.8 million gain from the repurchase of 14 branches, and from a favorable comparison, as the year-ago period included a $6.2 million loss on the FDIC indemnification asset, versus a $57,000 gain this year.

Noninterest expense rose 2.4% to $102.5 million, on the costs to close branches and the litigation settlement. The efficiency ratio improved to 66.42% from 69.54%.

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