Citizens Financial Group in Providence, R.I., managed to build up lending and hold its margins relatively steady last quarter, leading to a healthy gain in profits.

The $135 billion-asset company reported earnings of $220 million in the third quarter, 16% more than in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share were 40 cents, matching analysts' forecasts.

Revenue increased at its commercial and consumer banking units, and expenses stayed down. Net interest income overall rose 4%, to $856 million, as total loans and leases grew by 7%, to $97.4 million. The net interest margin of 2.76% fell just one basis point, and the provision for credit losses was down 1%, to $76 million.

Noninterest income rose 4%, to $353 million, as service charges, card and trust fees all increased modestly. Noninterest expense fell 1%, to $798 million, on lower compensation and consulting costs.

In August Citizens bought back shares from Royal Bank of Scotland, reducing its onetime parent company's ownership stake to 20.9%. It also named new heads of its commercial, wealth management and mortgage divisions during the quarter.

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