FirstMerit Corp.'s earnings inched down 2% from a year earlier, to $29.2 million, or 36 cents a share, but beat the average expectation of analysts by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

The $10.6 billion-asset Akron company said Tuesday that a slow economy curbed its revenue growth. It also said that its bottom line was bolstered by strong net interest margin gains, and that its capital levels are sound.

FirstMerit said its net interest margin rose 9 basis point, to 3.69%, as a result of a liability-sensitive balance sheet that allowed it to capitalize on a lower federal funds rate while keeping low the interest rates it paid depositors.

In its earnings report, FirstMerit said it "maintained a strong capital position." The ratio of tangible equity to assets climbed 52 basis points, to 7.52%.

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