The swift drop in 30-year mortgage rates helped propel third-quarter earnings to relatively lofty levels at Midwest community banks and thrifts, analysts said.

Wayne R. Bopp, a thrift analyst at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., St. Louis, said the rate drop brought a "nice little surprise" to companies originating and selling into the secondary market. "That's hard to forecast, and that's kind of propping up earnings," he said.

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