First Niagara Financial Group's earnings slid during the third quarter because of a higher loan-loss provision and a securities sale.

The $35.9 billion-asset company's net income decreased by 10% from a year earlier, to $66.5 million. First Niagara's provision increased 53% from a year earlier, to $22.2 million.

The Buffalo, N.Y., company said in a press release Friday that $12.1 million of the provision was linked to loan growth; the remaining $10.1 million was set aside to cover net chargeoffs. First Niagara's net chargeoffs fell more than 30% from a year earlier, to $10.1 million, including loans the company inherited from its purchase of HSBC branches.

The company also said that it lost some net interest income after selling $3.1 billion in mortgage-backed securities in a June balance sheet restructuring.

This was also the first full quarter to include the former HSBC's branches and loans, which First Niagara bought for $900 million in May. It since announced plans to cut 180 jobs earlier this month.

Excluding the former HSBC loans, average total loans grew 13% on an annualized basis from a quarter earlier, to $540 million. First Niagara said most of its organic loan growth came from commercial loans and indirect auto loans.

"First Niagara's lending franchise continues to deliver solid and differentiated fundamental performance throughout the continuing low-growth economic environment," Gregory Norwood, the company's chief financial officer, said in the release. "The growth potential in our newer geographies …combined with our enhanced fee generation services such as treasury management and online delivery channel are additional levers that will further improve our efficiency and profitability."

The company's net interest margin expanded 28 basis points from a quarter earlier, to 3.54%.

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