WAYNE, N.J. -- Valley National Bancorp posted third-quarter net income of $14.1 million, a 4.2% increase from the $13.5 million it earned in the same period last year.

Earnings per share at the $3.5 billion-asset bank were 52 cents, up one cent from last year's third-quarter.

The bank said growth was primarily fueled by a 15.7% pickup in loans. Total loans grew to $2 billion, from $1.7 billion in the third quarter of last year.

The bank, which made its results public last week, also reported a 43.9% efficiency ratio.

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