Buoyed by strong top-line revenue growth and improved asset quality, the $1.2 billion-asset First Business Financial Services in Madison, Wis., reported record profits in 2011.

The parent of First Business Bank and First Business Bank — Milwaukee said Friday that it earned $8.4 million last year, up nearly 800% from the prior year. Excluding a $2.7 million goodwill impairment charge in 2010, profits were still up more than 130% for the year.

For the fourth quarter, net income climbed more than 300% to $2.4 million.

First Business attributed the annual and quarterly earnings growth in large part to a 10% increase in top-line revenue. Though total loans declined year over year, fees from increased asset-based lending activity and service charges on deposits helped boost overall fee income by 9% for the quarter and nearly 5% for the year.

The results were also aided by a sharp drop in nonperforming assets, which allowed the company to reduce its provision for loan losses by 40% year over year, to $4.3 million.

First Business' shares were up 2% in early trading Friday, to $18.01.

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