Wintrust Financial Corp. in Lake Forest, Ill., reported late Wednesday that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 35% from a year earlier, to $19.2 million, as credit costs subsided and the company benefited from an 11% jump in earning assets from a year earlier.

The $15.9 billion-asset company earned 41 cents a share, beating the analysts' consensus of 37 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Interest income rose 2.4% from a year earlier, to $157 million, bucking a trend in the banking industry. Interest expense fell 20% from the fourth quarter of 2010, to $32.9 million.

The growth was fueled by the company's growth, with a portion coming from acquisitions. Last year, Wintrust struck deals for an open bank, three failed banks, two mortgage banking operations and an asset manager. The company's total assets rose 14% year-over-year.

Wintrust's results were also lifted by a 35% reduction in its loan-loss provision, which totaled $18.8 million. The company's nonperforming assets fell 3% from a year earlier, to $207 million.

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