Republic Bancorp Inc. in Louisville, Ky., reported on Tuesday that it earned $7.9 million in the third quarter, an 8% increase from the same quarter last year. Its diluted earning per share rose 9%, to 38 cents.

The growth was fueled by an increase in net interest income, a decline in its provision for loan losses and profits from the sale of the bank's Bowling Green, Ky., branch.

The $3.1 billion-asset company said its net interest income rose 3% year over year, to $27.2 million, which stemmed from an increase in loan balances and a decision to place excess cash into higher-yielding investment securities. The core bank's provision for loan losses decreased $1.2 million during the quarter compared with the third quarter of 2010, due to the continued improvement in credit quality. The delinquent loans to total loans ratio dropped below 1% for the first time since the first quarter of 2008, Steve Trager, Republic's president and chief executive, said in a press release.

Republic also recorded a pre-tax gain of $2.9 million from the sale of its Bowling Green banking center. The deal was completed Sept. 30. Republic stated in a press release that it sold the branch to "more efficiently deploy its capital in order to achieve its long-term growth and performance goals."

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