People's United Financial in Bridgeport, Conn., said an increase in business lending and residential mortgages helped its fourth-quarter profit improve.

Net income rose 5% to $74 million year over year, the $41 billion-asset company said Thursday. Earnings per share rose 4% to 24 cents.

The results included merger-related expenses of $1.6 million tied to People's United's acquisition of the wealth management firm Gerstein Fisher. Those expenses reduced earnings by less than 1 cent per share.

Net interest income rose 3% to $247 million. Loans rose 5% to $30 billion. Commercial and industrial loans rose 5% to $8 billion. Residential mortgages rose 14% to $6 billion.

Noninterest income fell 10% to $84 million. Investment management fees rose 31% to $14 million.

People's United noted that noninterest income in the fourth quarter of 2015 included a one-time gain of $9.2 million from the sale of its payroll services business.

Noninterest expense was little changed at $217 million.

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Andy Peters

Andy Peters

Andy Peters writes about regional banks, consumer finance and debt collections for American Banker.