An expansion to the south boosted profits at Washington Federal (WAFD) in Seattle in the fourth quarter.

The $13.3 billion-asset savings and loan association said net income rise 5.4%, to $35.2 million, compared with $33.4 million a year earlier.

It reported net interest income of $95 million, down 8% from the fourth quarter of 2011. Net interest margin fell 6 basis points, to 3.22%, reflecting a decline in yields. Other income rose 6.5%, to $4.9 million.

Nonperforming assets fell 23%, to $264 million, from a year earlier. Chargeoffs fell 29%, to $10 million.

In October, Washington Federal completed its purchase of South Valley Bancorp of Klamath Falls for roughly $44 million in cash and stock. The acquisition gave the company 190 offices in eight Western states.

"We are pleased to report another good quarter, helped along by the closing of the South Valley acquisition," Roy Whitehead, Washington Federal's chief executive, said in a news release.  "We regard the quarterly earnings as quite positive in light of low interest rates and the improving, yet still soft, overall economy."

Shares of Washington Federal were set to open at $17.16 a share on Tuesday.

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