NBT Bancorp (NBTB) in Norwich, N.Y., reported fourth-quarter net income of $17.9 million, a 37% increase from a year earlier.

The spike primarily stemmed from its $230 million acquisition in March of Alliance Financial, a $1.4 billion-asset holding company in Syracuse.

However, NBT's earnings per share of 41 cents missed estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg by a little more than a cent.

NBT's net interest income was $62.1 million, an 18.3% increase thanks again in large part to the Alliance acquisition. Noninterest income rose 15.2%, and noninterest expense was up 14.2%, because of the acquisition.

Net interest margin fell 22 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2012, because of rate compression on earning assets, which also showed up in decreasing loan yields from the third to the fourth quarters.

NBT recorded a provision for loan losses of $5.2 million, down 25% from a year earlier. Net chargeoffs decreased to $5.9 million, from $8.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

"We achieved record core earnings and realized strong organic loan growth while maintaining stable asset quality," NBT said in a news release Monday. "Strategic initiatives — including the successful acquisition and integration of Alliance, investments in training and technology, and expense control — all contributed to our strong financial results and have our company well-positioned for 2014 and beyond."

NBT had $7.7 billion of assets at Dec. 31.

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