Farmers and Merchants Bank of Long Beach in California announced Monday that third-quarter earnings rose more than 10% from a year earlier.

The $4.3 billion-asset bank reported nearly $12.7 million in net income, up 10.7% from the year-earlier quarter. Net income for the first nine months of the year jumped 23.3%, to $37.7 million.

The bank credited the improvement to a reduction in Farmers and Merchants' loan-loss provision and total interest expenses.

The provision fell 48%, to $4 million, in the third quarter from a year earlier. The total interest expense declined 33%, to $2.9 million.

Lower interest rates, however, reduced interest income, by 7.5% to $44.4 million, which hurt earnings.

"The historically low interest rate environment is contributing to a highly competitive industry," Henry Walker, the bank's chief executive, said in a press release.

"Nevertheless," Walker continued, "Farmers and Merchants Bank's deep roots in Southern California and financial stability remain important distinguishing factors for the communities we serve."

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