First Horizon National in Memphis, Tenn., beat analysts' estimates for a second consecutive quarter, posting net income of $45 million — 19 cents a share — paced by strong revenue growth and continued improvement in credit quality.

The $24 billion-asset company reported third-quarter revenue of $318 million, up 3% from a year earlier and a more robust 12% over the second quarter. The company's regional bank franchise, First Tennessee Bank, produced the lion's share of that growth. First Tennessee said average loans of $12.9 billion amounted to a 6% increase from a year earlier and a 4% increase from the second quarter.

Chairman and Chief Executive Bryan Jordan said the company's pipeline remains strong entering the fourth quarter.

"The environment remains very competitive, but I'm extraordinarily pleased with the work our bankers are doing to maintain discipline, grow relationships and build franchise value," Jordan said in a conference call Friday.

First Horizon swung from a loss of $107.4 million in the third quarter of 2013.

It reported net chargeoffs of $11 million in the latest quarter, down from $16 million for the third quarter of 2013. Nonperforming loans fell to $222 million, down 37% year over year. As a result, First Horizon was able to trim its loan-loss provision by 40%, to $6 million.

Deposits totaled $16.1 billion on Sept. 30, essentially unchanged from both the second quarter of this year and the third quarter of 2013.

The company booked a profit $40 million on the sale of held-for-sale mortgage loans, the majority of which were repurchased from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Legal costs continue to act as a drag on the bottom line, though. First Horizon said it added $50 million to its litigation reserve in the third quarter.

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