Old Line Bancshares (OLBK) in Bowie, Md., reported higher third-quarter earnings as loan growth and reduced expenses fueled revenue.

The $864 million-asset company's earnings increased almost 2% from a year earlier, to $2 million. Old Line cut its loan-loss provision in half from a year earlier, to $375,000.

Net interest income increased 2.3% from a year earlier, to $8.5 million. Average gross loans grew by $69 million from a year earlier because of "business development efforts, expanded market area and increased name recognition," the company said in a press release.

Old Line agreed in September to buy WSB Holdings in Bowie. Old Line expects to complete its purchase of the $373 million-asset WSB in the second quarter.

"This combination … will allow us to expand our financial services with the addition of a successful and growing mortgage origination team," James Cornelson, Old Line's president and chief executive, said in the release. "WSB will enhance the liquidity of our stock as well as our overall financial condition and operating performance."

Cornelsen also said that some merger expenses could "slightly lower" future earnings, though he expects the deal to be add to Old Line's earnings within three quarters of closing.

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