The head of First Commonwealth Financial (FCF) spoke for a lot of bankers Wednesday who hope to follow his lead.

The Indiana, Pa., bank's primary focus for 2012 "is to clearly put legacy credit issues behind us," Chief Executive T. Michael Price said in a news release announcing second-quarter earnings.

It took a step in that direction, reporting a 53% year-over-year drop in provisions for credit losses to $4.3 million. Nonperforming loans fell 42%, to $84.9 million.

Those results contributed to earnings per share that exceeded expectations. First Commonwealth, which has nearly $6 million of assets, reported a 66% increase in earnings to $12.3 million. Its 12 cents per share beat estimates from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters by two pennies.

Revenue challenges remain. Noninterest income dropped more than 5%, to $16.1 million, as net securities gains and trust income fell. Net interest income slipped less than 1%, to $48 million.

Noninterest expense fell 8%, to $41.8 million. First Commonwealth also decreased collection costs of $1.1 million for troubled loans and other real estate owned properties in the quarter. Also, First Commonwealth had recorded a $4.1 million writedown to current fair value for other real estate owned property in the second quarter of 2011.

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