First Busey (BUSE) in Champaign, Ill., posted a higher profit in the third quarter as credit quality improved to pre-recession norms.

The $3.5 billion-asset First Busey earned $7.9 million in the third quarter, up 7% from the same period a year ago. Improved credit quality allowed the company to reduce its loan-loss provision by 43%, to $2 million, and halve net chargeoffs to $2.5 million.

First Busey’s net interest income ticked down 1%, to $25.2 million, on lower interest and fees from loans and investment securities and reduced interest on deposits. Its net interest margin fell 5 basis points, to 3.20%.

Noninterest income stayed level at $15.6 million. Noninterest expenses dropped 10%, to $27.4 million, as First Busey cut back on costs from salaries, benefits and data processing. The company also recovered $207,000 from its allowance for other real estate owned.

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