Six large regional banks on Friday reported increases in third-quarter income, with five posting double-digit gains.

The earnings were fueled by acquisitions, healthy consumer credit demand, fee revenues, and improving credit quality. The only sour note was a lack of growth in commerical loans.

National City Corp. boosted earnings by 14.6% from a year ago, to $102.7 million. The Cleveland-based bank posted more than $500 million of household credit growth in the quarter.

Fifth Third Bancorp in Cincinatti capitalized on acquisitions and fee revenue gains to post a 19.4% earnings increase, to $51.6 million.

Acquisitions helped LaSalle National Corp., Chicago, boost earnings by 15.7% to $27.6 million, but profitability ratios were flat.

First Tennessee National Corp., Memphis, boosted earnings by 11% to $26.5 million on the strength of fee revenue gains.

It retreated from second quarter profitability levels, citing changing tax rates as one factor.

Mercantile Bancorp., St., Louis, boosted earnings by 23% to $85.5 million, citing acquisitions and gains in fee revenues and efficiency.

Fourth Financial Corp. of Wichita, Kansas, boosted earnings by 7%, to $18.8 million, but blame merger charges for a drop in profitability.

Viewed from the standpoint of profitability, improvements from year-ago levels were fairly dramatic, but second quarter comparisons varied.

National City, for example, lifted its annualized return on assets 17 basis points from a year ago, to 1.43%.

But it sank ever so slightly from a 1.45% ROA in the second quarter.

Fifth Third led the pack, showing a 1.85% ROA that bested second-quarter and year ago levels.

Fourth Financial said its ROA sagged to 1.16%, down from 1.20% in the second quarter and 1.26% a year ago.

Mercantile's ROA of 1.14% was up from 1.06% in the second quarter and 0.91% a year ago.

First Tennessee's ROA of 1.29% was down from 1.40% in the second quarter, but up mildly from 1.27% a year ago.

NATIONAL CITY CORP.

National Citymatched a strong second quarter showing, despite a $10 million pre-tax charge on writedowns of mortgage servicing values.

The $28.9 billion-asset banking company attributed healthy overall results to firming credit quality, improved net interest margins and fee income, and growth in consumer and realty mortgage loans.

Total loans of $20 billion at Sept. 30 were up 2.55% from June 30 and 6.66% from a year ago.

Third quarter loan growth was fueled by residential mortgages, which ballooned by $384 million, or 15%, and consumer installment loans which expanded by $127 million, or 3.3%.

Reflecting further refinements in credit quality, National City's charges for loss provisions and expenses or foreclosed assets were 30.4 million, a 32% decline from a year ago.

FIFTH THIRD BANCORP

A perennial industry leader in profitability, the $11.4 billion-asset company lowered its credit costs and showed gains in all categories of fee income.

Pretax securities gains of $4.2 million compared with $112,000 of such gains a year ago.

A loss provision of $10.2 million was down $4 million from a year ago.

LaSALLE NATIONAL CORP.

The Chicago-based subsidiary of Amsterdam's ABN Amro Holdings said a return on assets of 0.98% was down slightly from 1% a year ago.

The $11.5 billion-asset banking company in the third quarter agreed to buy Cragin Financial Corp., Chicago, which operates 27 thrift offices holding $2.8 billion of assets.

MERCANTILE BANCORP.

The $10.3 billion-asset company credited strong growth in non-interest income, most notably in trust, investment banking, credit card, and deposit service businesses.

The 39-bank company has $1.7 billion in acquisitions pending in Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa.

It reported a continued reduction in the ratio of operating expenses to operating revenues, to 60.57% in the third quarter from 63.37% a year ago.

FOURTH FINANCIAL CORP.

The Kansas-based company's third quarter noninterest expense was $58.8 million, a 15% increase from a year ago.

In a statement, chairman and chief executive Darrell G. Knudson, said a heavy schedule of acquisitions sparkled the increase.

Since the third quarter of last year, the bank has acquired $2 billion of banking assets, boosting the company's size by a third.

FIRST TENNESSEE

The Memphis-based company, which has $9.5 billion of assets, attributed its year-to-year earnings improvement to growth in fee income, particularly from credit cards and deposit services, and record earnings from its bond division.

Overall, a 1.29% annualized return on assets at First Tennessee was down from 1.40% in the second quarter.National City CorpClevelandDollar amounts in millions (except per share) Third Quarter 3Q93 3Q92Net income $102.7 $89.6Per share 0.61 0.54ROA 1.43% 1.26%ROE 16.26% 15.57%Net interest margin 4.90% 4.71%Net interest income 311.1 299.0Noninterest income 199.8 185.9Noninterest expense 330.9 328.6Loss provision 23.9 27.8Net chargeoffs 23.4 28.2 Year to Date 1993 1992Net income $300.5 $256.9Per share 1.79 1.55ROA 1.42% 1.20%ROE 16.26% 15.34%Net interest margin 4.86% 4.64%Net interest income 920.2 893.1Noninterest income 594.1 556.5Noninterest expense 988.2 966.1Loss provision 73.1 108.2Net chargeoff 58.1 105.7 Balance Sheet 9/30/93 9/30/92Assets $28,874.8 $28,585.5Deposits 21,055.2 21,980.9Loans 20,016.0 18,766.5Reserve/nonp. loans 217.80% 153.20%Nonperf. loans/loans 0.90% 1.40%Nonperf. asset/asset 0.90% 1.60%Leverage cap. ratio 8.70% 8.10%Tier 1 cap. ratio 10.00% 9.89%Tier 1+2 cap. ratio 12.83% 12.32%

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