Mortgage banking, M&A fuel profits at Wintrust Financial

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Fourth-quarter profits at Wintrust Financial in Rosemont, Ill., climbed 54% to $54.6 million from a year earlier, helped largely by acquisitions and increases in mortgage banking and other fee income.

The $25 billion-asset Wintrust bought the $172 million-asset First Community Financial in November, after closing on the acquisitions of Generations Bancorp and $554 million of loans from GE Capital Franchise Finance earlier in the year.

CEO Ed Wehmer in a news release cited the fourth-quarter boost provided by the addition of First Community in Elgin, Ill., but he said other positive contributors were “continued deposit growth, strong performance from our mortgage banking activities [and] stable credit quality metrics.”

Noninterest income was $85.3 million, up 31%. Mortgage banking income was up 52% to $35.5 million.

Net interest income increased 14% to $190.8 million. Total loans — excluding loans held for sale and covered loans — rose 15% to $19.7 billion. That growth was spurred by the 27% growth in commercial loans. Home equity loans and other consumer loans were down 8% and 17%, respectively.

The net interest margin fell 5 basis points to 3.21%.

Wintrust’s quarterly provision for credit losses fell 19%, to $7.4 million.

Noninterest expenses rose 8% to $180.37 million.

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