National Penn Bancshares Inc. in Boyertown, Pa., reported a big increase in profits on Thursday, which it attributed largely to improved credit.

The $8.54 billion-asset company said its earnings rose 136% from the fourth quarter and grew eightfold from a year earlier, to $15.6 million.

The company's loan-loss provision fell 43% from the fourth quarter and 69% from a year earlier, to $10 million. Nonperforming assets fell 5.6% from the fourth quarter and 34.2% from a year earlier, to $79.2 million.

Total loans fell 1.5% from the fourth quarter and 11% from a year earlier, to $5.25 billion.

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