First Citizens BancShares (FCNCA) in Raleigh, N.C., postedlower third-quarter profit from the same period last yearafter recording a gain from an acquisition.

The $21.2 billion-asset company said Friday that it earned $39.5 million, down roughly 51% from a year earlier. In the third quarter of 2011, the company posted an $86.9 million gain from the acquisition of the failed Colorado Capital Bank in Castle Rock. This was partially offset by lower noninterest expense and provision for loan and lease losses.

For the first nine months of the year, First Citizens said that profit fell more than 31%, to $112.6 million, from the same period a year earlier. Earnings for 2011 included gains totaling $150.4 million from the acquisitions of two failed banks, United Western Bank and Colorado Capital. No acquisition gains have been recorded this year.

Noninterest income totaled $51.8 million, down nearly 68% from a year earlier. This decrease mostly caused by the $86.9 million acquisition gain recorded in 2011, reductions in cardholder and merchant services income and a decline in mortgage income.

Noninterest expense declined almost 7%, to $190.1 million, year over year from lower costs related to card loyalty programs, external processing fees and foreclosure-related expenses.

The provision for loan and lease losses totaled $17.6 million, an almost 61% drop from a year earlier, because of a $20.1 million decline in the amount recognized for post-acquisition deterioration of acquired loans covered by loss-share agreements with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Net interest income fell less than 1%, to $$215.4 million, year over year. Loan and leases fell 5%, to $13.5 billion, from a year earlier.

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