FALLS CHURCH, Va. — First Virginia Banks Inc.’s second-quarter earnings climbed to 73 cents a share, up 7% from the 68 cents a share it earned in the same quarter a year ago.

The company generated $34.5 million of net income, compared to $34.2 million in the same quarter last year. The company said its return on average assets increased to 1.46%, compared to 1.44% in the prior year’s second quarter, and the return on the average shareholder’s equity rose to 13.99%, from 13.29%.

As of June 30, the bank had $9.42 billion of total assets, versus $9.45 billion a year ago, and total loans were $6.434 billion, compared to $6.194 billion on June 30, 1999.

“The combination of higher commercial lending and an improvement in loan yields permitted First Virginia to keep the net interest margin at 5.00% for the second quarter despite six increases in interest rates engineered by the Federal Reserve over the past year,” said Barry J. Fitzpatrick, chairman and chief executive.

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