Enterprise Bancorp Inc. in Lowell, Mass., posted third-quarter earnings of $2.9 million, up almost 8% year over year, due to strong loan growth.

The $1.5 billion-asset company said Monday that its loan balances grew by 8% in the first nine months of the year, or at an annual rate of 10%, to $1.23 billion. This loan growth contributed to a 6% increase in net interest income from a year earlier to $14.7 million in the third quarter. The provision for loan losses was $1.8 million, up 38% from a year earlier. 

Deposits climbed 8% to $1.35 billion over the nine-month period. Noninterest income for the quarter totaled $3.2 million, a 22% rise from the third quarter of 2010. This increase was primarily due to larger gains on security sales and deposit fees.

Chief executive Jack Clancy said in a press release that the bank continues to focus on expanding all of its business lines such as lending, deposits and managed investment assets. The company announced in May that it would open its fourth branch in southern New Hampshire and 19th overall in 2012.       

Shares were trading at $14.05, up about 2%, by mid-afternoon.

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