Commerce Bancshares in Kansas City, Mo., reported stable third-quarter earnings as margin compression offset loan growth.

The $22.7 billion-asset company said in a press release Wednesday that it earned $68.2 million, which was slightly less than a year earlier. Earnings per share were 72 cents a share, or a penny higher than the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg. The results excluded $1.8 million in dividends on preferred stock.

Income from interest-bearing assets held steady from a year earlier, at $154.7 million, even as total loans grew nearly 9%, to $11.3 billion. The net interest margin compressed by 12 basis points to 2.99%.

Credit quality dipped slightly from last year. Net chargeoffs rose 15%, to $7.7 million. The company's loan-loss provision jumped 85%, to $7.7 million.

Profits were boosted, in part, by fees from trusts and bank cards. Noninterest income rose 6%, to $112.3 million.

Higher fee-based income helped offset a rise in operating expenses, which climbed 4%, to $162 million.

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