Four major Midwest institutions on Wednesday reported improved fourth- quarter results, but a fifth banking company said it lost ground.

In Minneapolis, Norwest Corp. boosted net income 84.4% from restated results of a year earlier, to $204.9 million. In Detroit, NBD Bancorp posted a 19% earnings increase to $142 million.

FirstFed Michigan Corp., a Detroit-based thrift, said earnings rose 11% to $11.3 million, with an ROA of 0.52% rising 9 basis points. St. Louis- based Magna Group said earnings rose by 25.6% to $12.9 million, with its ROA rising 10 basis points to 1.14%.

By contrast, First of America Bank Corp., Kalamazoo, said earnings fell by 20% to $52.6 million, with an ROA of 0.88% falling by 25 basis points.

Norwest's prior-year results were restated to reflect the January 1994 stock-swap acquisition of First United Bank Group Inc., Albuquerque. In the fourth quarter of 1993, First United took $99.7 million of pre-tax merger preparation charges.

Norwest said it booked $20.3 million of losses on securities sales in the fourth quarter, along with $36.9 million of writedowns on other assets. It said the securities losses "provided an opportunity to reinvest at higher yields."

Morgan Stanley & Co. analyst Dennis Shea said Norwest showed continued healthy loan growth and a wide net interest margin. He predicted the superregional in 1995 would deliver a return on assets of roughly 1.5% and a return on equity exceeding 21%.

NBD's 1.23% ROA was up 5 basis points from a year earlier. It was down 8 basis points from the third quarter, however, when results benefited from a low loss provision.

Verne G. Istock, NBD's chairman and chief executive, cited asset growth in favorable year-to-year comparisons.

Average earning assets rose 15% to $41.9 billion, fueled by a $3-billion increase in loans and a $2.4-billion expansion of securities investment, NBD said. Partially offsetting progress was a 22 basis-point decline in the net interest margin, to 4.16%.

Cost controls also figured in NBD's results. Excluding securities transactions, overhead expenses fell 5.2% from a year earlier, NBD said, and the company's ratio of noninterest expenses to revenues fell 6.1 percentage points to 56.7%.

Smith Barney analyst Henry C. Dickson said NBD's fourth-quarter results were solid. But he cautioned that the company will need to maintain efficiency and preserve funding advantages if it is to sustain results in 1995.

First of America said annualized quarterly returns equaled 13.35% on average equity, down 437 basis points from a year before. For the full year, the company earned $220.5 million, or $3.69 per fully diluted share, versus 1993 earnings of $247.4 million, or $4.14 per share.

Following through on a prior announcement, First of America took $8.2 million of special pre-tax charges in the fourth quarter, $4.3 million on securities losses and $3.9 million for severance expenses.

Daniel R. Smith, First of America's chairman and chief executive, said 1994 results "did not meet the goals we set for the company." The executive cited margin compression, rising expenses and acquisitions as factors in the earnings decline.

However, Mr. Smith said First of America had lessened its exposure to rising rates and "made significant progress towards streamlining."

The $8.4 billion-asset FirstFed Michigan said an earlier balance sheet overhaul provoked a full-year loss of $96.2 million, or $5.16 per fully diluted share. The company said its fourth-quarter annualized return on equity of 10.02% was up 275 basis points from a year earlier.

Magna Group, a $5 billion-asset banking company, said annualized quarterly returns equaled 13.72% on average equity, up 209 basis points from a year before. For the full year, the banking company earned $45 million, or $1.69 per share, versus 1993 earnings of $37.5 million, or $1.53 per share. +++ Norwest Corp. Minneapolis Dollar amounts in millions (except per share) Fourth Quarter 4Q94 4Q93 Net income $204.9 $111.1 Per share 0.62 0.34 ROA 1.43% 0.81% ROE 21.5% 12.3% Net interest margin 5.73% 5.38% Net interest income 741.9 662.1 Noninterest income 437.9 436.8 Noninterest expense 807.8 869.1 Loss provision 63.3 57.4 Net chargeoffs 72.6 63.8 Full Year 1994 1993 Net income $800.4 613.1 Per share 2.41 1.86 ROA 1.45% 1.20% ROE 21.4% 18.2% Net interest margin 5.66% 5.50% Net interest income 2,832.6 2,536.7 Noninterest income 1,638.3 1,585.0 Noninterest expense 3,096.4 3,050.4 Loss provision 164.9 158.2 Net chargeoffs 193.2 178.3 Balance Sheet 12/94 12/93 Assets $59,315.9 $54,665.0 Deposits 36,424.0 35,976.5 Loans 32,576.0 28,760.8 Reserve/nonp. loans 606.3% 383.1% Nonperf. loans/loans 0.40% 0.72% Nonperf. assets/assets 0.27% 0.49% Leverage cap. ratio 6.94% 6.46% Tier 1 cap. ratio 9.89% 9.71% Tier 1+2 cap. ratio 12.23% 12.39% NBD Bancorp Detroit, Mich. Dollar amounts in millions (except per share) Fourth Quarter 4Q94 4Q93 Net income $141.5 $119.0 Per share 0.91 0.74 ROA 1.23% 1.18% ROE 17.09% 14.59% Net interest margin 4.16% 4.38% Net interest income 437.3 399.6 Noninterest income 136.3 156.1 Noninterest expense 327.2 345.0 Loss provision 20.1 19.8 Net chargeoffs 8.7 19.8 Full Year 1994 1993 Net income $531.7 $485.8 Per share 3.35 3.01 ROA 1.21% 1.21% ROE 16.09% 15.57% Net interest margin 4.22% 4.48% Net interest income 1,688.4 1,630.4 Noninterest income 545.6 585.4 Noninterest expense 1,304.3 1.321.8 Loss provision 52.0 119.7 Net chargeoffs 40.5 114.5 Balance Sheet 12/94 12/93 Assets $47,111.1 $40,775.9 Deposits 33,229.4 29,821.1 Loans 29,229.7 25,550.8 Reserve/nonp. loans 241.64% 157.28% Nonperf. loans/loans 0.62% 1.05% Nonperf. assets/assets 0.44% 0.77% Nonperf. assets/loans

+ OREO 0.72% 1.22% Leverage cap. ratio 6.77% 7.33% Tier 1 cap. ratio 8.44% 9.13% Tier 1+2 cap. ratio 12.50% 13.61% ===

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