Fulton Financial Corp. said its fourth-quarter profit rose from a year ago as it reduced nonperforming loans, but that its earnings per share missed analysts' estimates by two cents as net interest income shrunk.

The $16.4 billion-asset, multi-bank holding company said after markets closed Tuesday that net income rose 14.6% from a year ago, to $36.1 million. Net income was 18 cents per share and analysts had expected 20 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

Fulton lowered its provision for loan losses by 25% from a year ago, to $30 million, as nonperforming loans fell 12.8% from a year ago, to $286.5 million. During the quarter, Fulton sold $34.7 million of nonperforming residential mortgages, and a $152,000 nonperforming home equity loan. Those sales resulted in a $17.4 million charge-off to its allowance for credit losses.

Though total loans increased slightly year over year, net interest income fell 1.7%, to $138.5 million, primarily due to prepayments on mortgage-backed securities.

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