Home BancShares in Conway, Ark., swallowed $1.7 million of merger-integration costs in the fourth quarter, capping a year of investment in its expansion.

That figure was part of its $6.4 million in merger-related expenses for the full year. Home bought two banks last year, Broward Financial Holdings and Florida Traditions. It acquired Liberty Bancshares the previous year.

The deals have helped make Home a $7.4 billion-asset company.

Assets rose nearly 9% year over year; that included a 15% increase in traditional loans, to $4.8 billion.

Home reported fourth-quarter a profit of $30 million, more than double that of a year earlier.

Net interest income was $83.4 million, up 24%.

Noninterest income was $10.2 million, a 16.4% drop from the year before; a $7.4 million amortization of a Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. indemnification asset was part of the reason for that drop.

Noninterest expense was $41.1 million, down about 25% from the year before, though Home acknowledged that if merger costs in late 2013 tied to the Liberty deal were factored out noninterest expense would have risen $1.8 million year over year.  

Home emphasized that there has been some internal growth. It said that $113.2 million of the $234.3 million of loans added from Sept. 30 to Dec. 31 were organic.

Diluted earnings per share were $0.44, which fell short of the aggregate of estimates made by analysts polled by Bloomberg, who predicted earnings per share of $0.463. However, when the $1.7 million of fourth-quarter merger costs is factored out, earnings per share matched projections.

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