Bank of the Ozarks Inc. reported income totaling $83.8 million for the nine months that ended Sept. 30, representing an almost 78% increase from the same period in 2010.

The Little Rock company said in a press release late Wednesday that earnings in first nine months of 2011 included gains from three Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. assisted acquisitions. Gains on these deals contributed about $36.6 million to income. This compares to the first nine months of 2010 when three acquisitions contributed $14.4 million to income.

The $3.9 billion-asset company reported 55 cents in diluted earnings per common share for the third quarter. Even though this was a 6.8% decrease from the third quarter of 2010, the earnings still beat expectations. A research note on Thursday from Sandler O'Neill & Partners L.P. stated that they had estimated earnings per share at 37 cents while the consensus was 41 cents.

Sandler O'Neill linked the bank's better-than-expected results in part to a higher net interest margin and increased fee income, which can mostly be attributed to these recent acquisitions. The net interest margin was 5.9% for the third quarter, a 59-basis-point increase from the third quarter of 2010. A lower provision also contributed to the gains. The company's provision for loan losses decreased to $1.5 million for the quarter, from $4.3 million a year earlier. Sandler O'Neill noted that asset quality indicators were mixed. Problem loans increased while delinquencies and credit costs were lower.

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