First Republic Bank (FRC) in San Francisco posted slightly higher earnings in the fourth quarter thanks to higher revenue from loans and improved credit quality.
The $42.1 billion-asset company earned $103 million, up 0.5% from the same period a year ago. At 75 cents, First Republic's earnings per share was on target with the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.
First Republic's net interest income was $315 million, a 4% increase from the fourth quarter of 2012. Increases in loan revenue were partially offset by higher interest expenses from deposits and borrowings. The company's net interest margin fell 70 basis points, to 3.32%.
Noninterest income ticked up 1%, to $56 million, thanks largely to higher revenue from wealth management fees.
Noninterest expenses fell 13%, to $201 million. The company adopted a new accounting standard in the fourth quarter that lists expenses related to low-income housing tax credit investments under its provision for income taxes rather than operating expenses.
Improved credit quality allowed First Republic to chop its loan-loss provision by 55%, to $7.8 million. The company noted that growth in new loans, rather than troubled assets, was the primary reason for its current loan-loss provision.