Fueled by strong loan growth, Comerica (CMA) in Dallas reported earnings of $142 million in the second quarter, up roughly 49% from the same period a year earlier.

The $62.7 billion-asset company said Tuesday that its total loans increased by 10%, to $43.2 billion, from a year earlier. It marked the eighth consecutive quarter that average commercial loans increased, thanks in part to its July 2011 acquisition of Sterling Bancshares. The increase in average commercial loans was primarily driven by growth in national dealer services, global corporate banking, middle market banking and energy, Ralph W. Babb Jr., Comerica's chairman and chief executive, said in a news release.

Comerica's net interest income increased roughly 11%, to $435 million, from a year earlier due to growth in both loans and investment securities. Total investment securities rose 31%, to $9.7 million, from a year earlier. The bank's noninterest income rose more than 4%, to $211 million, year over year.

Credit quality also continued to improve. Comerica's second-quarter provision for credit losses totaled $19 million, down almost 58%, from a year earlier. Nonperforming assets fell 22%, to $814 million, year over year.

Comerica's earnings per share totaled 73 cents, beating analysts' estimates by 11 cents.

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