First Interstate Bancorp reported 1994 earnings of $733.5 million - flat from the previous year - amid double-digit loan growth and a 23-basis- point expansion in the net interest margin.

The Los Angeles-based regional said Monday its results were actually a 31% improvement over 1993 full-year earnings before extraordinary items and accounting changes. The bank reported $561.4 million in net income a year ago, but that increased to $736 million because of a FASB accounting change. The bank also took an $87.6 million after-tax restructuring charge in 1994.

The company, which had a 24.3% return on equity, said average loans increased $4.5 billion, or 18.7%, to $28.6 billion in 1994. The biggest jump was a 40% rise in mortgages, driven by acquisition, while commercial loans were the weakest, growing 8.8% to $8.3 billion.

First Interstate earned $211.3 million after taxes and before extraordinary items in the fourth quarter, up 36% from the same period in 1993.

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