Great Southern Bancorp (GSBC) in Springfield, Mo., beat analysts' estimates in the third quarter by reducing expenses and improving credit quality.

The company reported a profit of $8.3 million, up 19% from the same quarter last year. At 61 cents per share, the company surpassed the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg by 17 cents.

Great Southern's net interest income fell 11% from a year earlier to $38.5 million, while its net interest margin ticked down to 4.6%. The company attributed the decline to variations in yield accretion on acquired loans. As the quality of acquired loans improved, Great Southern increased its cash flow estimates, thereby reducing expected reimbursements under loss-sharing agreements with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Noninterest income fell 55% from the previous year to $929,000 because of amortization of income related to business acquisitions and lower gains on the sale of single-family loans and securities.

Lower expenses and improved credit quality helped offset Great Southern's declines in income. Noninterest expenses fell 7% year over year to $27.2 million thanks to lower foreclosure and occupancy costs. The company's loan-loss provision plummeted 68% to $2.7 million, while net chargeoffs decreased 61% to $8.8 million.

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