Prosperity Bancshares Inc. in Houston earned $32.8 million in the fourth quarter, up 7.3% from a year earlier, as credit costs subsided significantly, it said Friday.

The earnings of 70 cents a share exceeded the average of analysts' estimates by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. The $9.5 billion-asset company reported 2010 earnings of $127.7 million, up 14.2% from 2009.

Fourth-quarter results included a 65% reduction in credit costs, including a $2.9 million loan-loss provision. Nonperforming assets fell nearly 3% from a year earlier, to $15.8 million.

Noninterest income fell 5.5% from a year earlier, to $13.9 million, due to higher losses on the sale of other real estate owned.

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