Nara Bancorp Inc. in Los Angeles has reported earning $5 million in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss a year earlier.

Alvin Kang, Nara's president and chief executive, attributed the turnaround to a wider net interest margin, better deposit mix and lower credit costs, in a press release late Monday.

Nara cut its loan-loss provision, to $5.8 million compared to $17.9 million a year earlier. The $3 billion-asset company, which is merging with Center Financial Corp., lost $1.5 million a year earlier.

The margin expanded 65 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.99%. Nara said in a release that it expects "low to mid single-digit loan growth" in 2011 and "a slight increase" in its margin and noninterest expenses.

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