Cathay General Bancorp (CATY) of Los Angeles reported earnings of $31.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 12.7% from the same quarter a year prior.

Earnings per share of 40 cents were up nine cents from the same quarter in 2012 and met estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. The increase was primarily due to decreases in costs and expenses related to debt redemption and maintaining foreclosed properties. The $10.9 billion-asset company also reported a 9.5% increase in loans, to $8.1 billion.

Net interest income before the provision for credit losses remained relatively steady, increasing 1.1% from the fourth quarter of 2012, to $82 million. The slight increase was mostly the result of a decrease in interest expense from securities sold under agreements to repurchase, offset by the decrease in interest income from investment securities.

Noninterest income decreased 31.6%, to $8.3 million, due to a decline in gains from securities sales, while noninterest expenses fell 18.6%, to $40.3 million.

The provision for credit losses was zero for the fourth quarters of both 2012 and 2013, based on the review of the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses as of Dec.31, 2013. Still, net chargeoffs rose from $1.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 to $8.3 million for the same quarter in 2013.

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