Loan growth helped Sterling Bancorp in New York increase its third-quarter net income 23% from the year earlier, to $3.8 million.

Loans held in its portfolio rose 8.7%, to an average of $1.2 billion, as it wooed customers away from competitors, Louis J. Cappelli, Sterling's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a press release Thursday.

The $2.1 billion-asset company recently began adding "experienced business development executives" so it can continue capitalizing on opportunities to boost market share, Mr. Cappelli said.

Sterling took a $1.2 million pretax charge on a corporate debt security considered other than temporarily impaired. But excluding the charge, its noninterest income improved by 8.4%, to $8.4 million, partly because of growth in fees for accounts receivable management. Nonperforming loans edged up by 4 basis points from the year earlier, but fell 2 basis points from the previous quarter, to 0.56%.

The company said it is still weighing whether to participate in the Treasury Department's Capital Purchase Program.

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