First Horizon National Corp.'s third-quarter earnings rose 17% as the bank holding company reduced the amount of nonperforming loans and also launched a $100 million stock repurchase program.

The parent of First Tennessee Bank, like other regional banks, has seen improving results of late as credit measures strengthen and lower reserves are needed for troubled loans. In recent years, the company has sharpened its focus on retail banking and capital markets, while largely exiting the mortgage business.

First Horizon reported a profit of $36.1 million, or 14 cents a share, up from $30.8 million, or 7 cents, a year earlier. Revenue, a combination of net interest income and non-interest income, dropped 7.4% to $397.2 million.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had most recently forecast earnings of 16 cents on revenue of $359 million.

Loan-loss provisions were $32 million, 36% lower than a year earlier, but significantly more than the $1 million provision in the prior quarter.

Net charge-offs, or loans lenders don't think are collectible, were 2.65% of average loans, up from 2.60% a year earlier and 1.67% last quarter. Nonperforming assets, those near default, dropped to 3.02%, from 5% and 4.09%, respectively.

Shares closed Friday at $6.56 and were inactive premarket. The stock has fallen 33% over the past year.

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