First Empire State Corp. reported earnings of $29.1 million, or $4.09 cents per share, a 13% increase over last year's third quarter.

The Buffalo-based bank reported net income of $25.9 million, or $3.52 cents per share, in the third quarter of 1993.

The bank lowered its loan-loss provision by 30% to $13.8 million, compared with $195.7 million in the same period last year.

"That Was a big boost to earnings," said Todd Isum, a banking analyst with Duff & Phelps.

The bank also reported a 3% drop in asset size, to $9.6 billion at Sept. 30, from $9.9 billion at the end of last year's third quarter. First Empire said it decreased its holdings of money market assets by 67%, and its securities investments by$16%.

-- Howard Kapiloff

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