F.N.B. in Pittsburgh is reaping the benefits of its recent expansions into other major cities.

The $15 billion-asset bank reported a second-quarter profit of $34.8 million, an increase of 19% from the year-earlier period. It earned 20 cents per share, one cent short of estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Strong returns from loans boosted profits. Net interest income increased 18%, to $114 million. Total loans increased 20%, to $10.3 billion. However, net interest margin dropped three basis points, to 3.6%.

The bank attributed much of the growth to its acquisition in January of the $604 million-asset BCSB Bancorp in Baltimore as well as other expansion moves in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest.

F.N.B. is now "fully staffed" in the Baltimore and Cleveland areas and "loan production in these markets has exceeded our initial expectations," Chief Executive Vincent J. Delie Jr. said in a press release Tuesday.

Other factors helped F.N.B. in the quarter.

It slashed its provision for loan losses by 32%, to $10.4 million.

Noninterest income climbed 7%, to $39.2 million, from higher fees and service charges in the bank's mortgage banking and wealth management units.

Revenue gains offset a rise in operating costs, as noninterest expenses climbed 10%, to $92.6 million, from the BCSB integration.

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