Fulton Financial (FULT) in Lancaster, Pa., reported a bump up in profit in the fourth quarter despite declines in interest income.

On Tuesday the $16.2 billion-asset company reported quarterly net income of $40.2 million, or 20 cents a share, up 11.5% from a year earlier.

Higher noninterest income and subsidiary Fulton Bank's sale last month of its payments unit, Global Exchange, boosted profits.

Noninterest income rose 23.2%, to $59.6 million, a figure that includes the $6.2 million gain from selling Global Exchange. The gains helped offset a 4.5% decline in net interest income, to $132.2 million.

Fulton's loan portfolio strengthened in the fourth quarter. The company decreased its loan-loss provision by 41.7%, to $17.5 million, compared with a year earlier. Nonperforming assets stood at $237.2 million, a 25.2% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2011.

Fulton's shares closed Tuesday at $10.32, virtually unchanged. It released results after the close of trading.

Though fourth-quarter profits rose year over year, they fell 4.8% from the third quarter.

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