Cullen/Frost Bankers in San Antonio reported higher third-quarter profit, reflecting loan growth and increased fee income.

The $28.3 billion-asset company's net income fell 2% year-over-year to $73.8 million. Earnings per share fell 0.8% to $1.17. That beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by four cents.

Net interest income before the loan-loss provision increased 5.3% to $187 million. The net interest margin widened 9 basis points to 3.48%.

Total loans grew 5.7% to $11.4 billion, largely on a "focused calling effort and team-selling approach," Chairman and Chief Executive Dick Evans said in a news release.

Noninterest income rose 3.1% to $83.4 million, as an increase in investment fees and gains on the sale of foreclosed assets offset lower oil and gas fees, and securities lending fees.

Noninterest expense rose 7.2% to $175.6 million, on higher salaries, merit raises and incentive-based compensation. Occupancy expense rose 24% to $3.3 million, as Cullen/Frost opened a new operations and support center.

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