Citizens First (CZFC) in Bowling Green, Ky., reported higher quarterly results as improved lending offset higher expenses.

The $407 million-asset company's fourth-quarter earnings rose 178% from a year earlier, to $472,000.

Net interest income was flat from the third quarter and rose roughly 8.5% from a year earlier, to $3.9 million. Its net interest margin expanded 23 basis points from a year earlier, to 4.24%.

The loan portfolio increased by 1.5% from the fourth quarter of 2011, to $299 million. The loan-loss provision was cut in half from a year earlier, to $580,000.

Noninterest income fell 17% from a year earlier, to $764,000. Noninterest expenses rose 9.8% from the fourth quarter of 2011, to 3.1 million, largely because of higher personnel costs.

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