NBT Bancorp Inc. in Norwich, N.Y., said late Monday that its fourth-quarter earnings fell 5% from a year earlier as lower interest yields squeezed its net interest margin.

The $5.6 billion-asset company reported quarterly net income of $13.7 million, compared to $14.4 million a year earlier. Like most banks, NBT had further margin compression in the fourth quarter due to lower yields on securities and loans. The net interest margin shrank 11 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.98%.

NBT's stock immediately fell Tuesday morning following the release. The company's shares were trading as low as $22.85 a share mid-morning, down 2.7%.

Still, NBT's president and chief executive, Martin Dietrich, said in the release that 2008 through 2011 was the most profitable four-year period in the company's history.

NBT's net income for 2011 rose 1% compared to a year earlier, to $57.9 million.

During the year, NBT opened two branches in Vermont and bought four branches in Massachusetts. The company also said it expects to complete its acquisition of Hampshire Green Bank during the second quarter. NBT also closed on a three-branch acquisition in Greene County, NY on Jan. 21.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.