Huntington Bancshares in Columbus, Ohio, reported higher fourth-quarter earnings, citing increases in commercial and auto lending and fees from deposit accounts and payment processing.

Net income at the $71 billion-asset company rose 9% from a year earlier to $170.3 million. Earnings per share rose 10.5% to 21 cents. Total revenue rose 9% to $777 million.

Net interest income rose 5% to $497 million. The provision for credit losses jumped from $2.5 million to $36.5 million. The net interest margin narrowed 9 basis points to 3.09%.

Total loans rose 5.6% to $50.3 billion. Commercial and industrial loans climbed 8% to $20.6 billion. Auto loans increased 9% to $9.5 billion.

Nonaccrual loans and leases swelled 24% to $372 million, primarily because of several energy-sector loans.

Fee income rose 17% to $272 million, on higher deposit service charges, income from cards and payment processing and mortgage banking. Huntington also doubled its gain on the sale of loans, on higher Small Business Administration lending. The company recorded a $400,000 gain from the sale of Huntington Asset Advisers, Huntington Asset Services and Unified Financial Securities.

Noninterest expenses rose 3% to $499 million. The results included an $8 million expense to close branches and for the impairment of leases on facilities. The efficiency ratio improved to 63.7%.


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