Heartland Financial USA Inc. in Dubuque, Iowa, said Monday that its third-quarter earnings were unchanged from a year earlier, at $6.9 million.

Earnings per share rose by a penny, to 42 cents.

The $3.2 billion-asset multibank holding company said that its net interest margin fell 29 basis points, to 3.87%, as a result of a decision to shift more assets into investments or hold them in federal funds.

Given the recent 50-basis-point rate cut by the Federal Reserve Board and the asset-sensitive nature of its balance sheet, Heartland said, it "will be challenged to maintain its net interest margin at the current level."

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