Brookline Bancorp in Boston reported higher quarterly profits fueled by loan growth and improved asset quality.

The $5.7 billion-asset company's third-quarter earnings rose 23% from a year earlier, to $11.6 million. Earnings per share of 18 cents beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by 4 cents.

The net interest income rose 9%, to $47.4 million, while total loans grew 10%, to $4.7 billion. The net interest margin compressed by 2 basis points, to 3.54%.

Asset quality improved. Brookline slashed its loan-loss provision by 26%, to $2 million.

Noninterest income jumped 64%, to $5.7 million, mostly from a $1.4 million payment from an insurance company to settle a 2012 lawsuit.

Operating expenses edged up 8%, to $31.9 million.

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