Commerce Bancshares in Kansas City, Mo., reported a small rise in fourth-quarter profit, on growth in business and commercial construction loans.

The $24.6 billion-asset company's net income increased 1.6% to $61.5 million, compared to a year earlier, according to a Wednesday news release. Earnings per share rose 5% to 63 cents. Total revenue rose 5% to $278.4 million.

Net interest income after the provision for loan losses rose 4.1% to $153.3 million. Commerce's provision rose 97% to $9.2 million. Average business loans rose 11% to $4.4 billion, and average construction loans rose 46% to $584 million.

In addition to higher earning asset balances, net interest income also benefited from higher rates earned on mortgage and asset-backed securities.

Noninterest income grew 3.2% to $115.9 million, on higher bank card transaction fees, loan fees and sales and deposit account charges.

Noninterest expense increased 3.3% to $175.6 million due to increased salary and technology costs. The efficiency ratio improved to 62.95%.

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