Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinnati on Thursday reported higher quarterly profit driven by an increase in construction loans.

The $144 billion-asset company said in a press release Thursday that its second-quarter earnings rose 6% from a year earlier, to $329 million. Earnings per share of 40 cents were 2 cents higher than the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Net interest income rose 2%, to $908 million. Loans increased by 2%, to $93.9 billion, boosted by a 39% increase in commercial construction lending. The net interest margin compressed by just 1 basis point, to 2.88%.

Fee income climbed 8%, to $599 million, largely because of valuation adjustments on its Vantiv warrant and gains from the sale of branches in Missouri and Pennsylvania.

Noninterest expenses rose by 4%, to $983 million, mostly due to higher salary and technology costs.

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