Third-quarter profits at First Horizon National in Memphis, Tenn., climbed 7% from a year earlier as its lending growth trumped a downturn in fee income.

The $29.6 billion-asset company on Friday reported quarterly earnings available to common shareholders of $67.3 million. Diluted earnings per share came in at 28 cents, missing analyst consensus by 2 cents.

Total loans rose 6% to $19.8 billion, and net interest margin widened to 3.19% from 2.96%. As a result, net interest income increased 13% to $209 million.

Commercial and industrial loans increased 11% to $12.4 billion. and commercial real estate loans also rose 11%, to $2.2 billion. The company also cited growth in specialty areas such as loans to mortgage companies and asset-based lending.

However, overall revenue fell 3% to $322 million. One of the big culprits was noninterest income, which fell 24%. to $112 million. That slump included a 22% loss in fixed income to $56 million.

Meanwhile, noninterest expenses increased 1% to $237 million, including a 35% increase in professional fees, a 13% increase of contract employment and outsourcing, and a 51% increase in amortization of intangible assets.

Bryan Jordan, CEO of First Horizon National Corp.
“Our third-quarter results were solid," said Bryan Jordan, First Horizon’s chairman and CEO, who pointed to balance sheet growth, cost control and other factors in the third quarter.

Allowance for loan losses decreased 3% to $195 million despite the loan growth in the period.

“Our third-quarter results were solid," said Bryan Jordan, First Horizon’s chairman and CEO, who pointed to good balance sheet growth, cost control and other factors.

First Horizon has been busy on the M&A front this year.
Earlier this week it acquired the operations and certain assets of Professional Mortgage in Greenville, S.C., a provider of loan servicing.

In May it agreed to buy Capital Bank Financial in Charlotte, N.C., for $2.2 billion in cash and stock — the largest deal in First Horizon's history. First Horizon said Friday that the deal remains on track to close in the fourth quarter as planned.

In the second quarter, First Horizon reported a 61% increase in profits to nearly $91 million as stronger lending and cost control offset a decline in fee income. Total revenue rose 2% to $328.4 million.

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