Chemical Financial Corp. in Midland, Mich., reported that its fourth-quarter profit rose 49% from a year earlier, to $11.2 million, because a lower loan-loss provision.

The $5.3 billion-asset company also said on Thursday that 2011 profit rose 78% from 2010, to $43.1 million.

Chemical's fourth-quarter provision totaled $5.1 million, or less than half from a year earlier. Nonperforming assets fell 25% from their peak at the end of 2010, to $131.8 million. Net interest income rose 2% from a quarter earlier, to $47.1 million, because of the declining costs of interest-bearing liabilities related to the repricing of maturing certificates of deposit.

David B. Ramaker, Chemical's chairman, chief executive and president, said in the release that the company will look to grow its loan portfolio, improve credit quality and control operating costs. He also said that Chemical will look to "further capitalize on anticipated consolidation opportunities in Michigan's banking industry."

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