Buoyed by a one-time gain on the sale of its merchant credit card acquiring business, QCR Holdings Inc. in Moline, Ill., said Friday that third-quarter earnings rose 169% from a year earlier, to $4.3 million.

The $1.6 billion-asset, four-bank holding company said it earned $3 million on the sale, which helped to offset the $2.2 million it set aside for loan losses, up from $1 million a year earlier.

QCR said it increased reserves to account for a 14% increase in loans and leases since Dec. 31, an uncertain national economy, and "isolated degradation of a few large commercial credits."

The smallest of its four banks, the $114 million-asset First Wisconsin Bank and Trust in Milwaukee, lost $1.8 million in the first nine months of the year, largely because of a writeoff it took on a single commercial loan.

QCR said earlier this month that it is selling First Wisconsin to the $1.1 billion asset National Bancshares Inc. in Bettendorf, Iowa. The sale is expected to close by the end of the year.

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