Old National Bancorp (ONB) in Evansville, Ind., reported a small rise in fourth-quarter earnings, as higher expenses offset a rise in interest income.

The $9.4 billion-asset company reported Monday a 4% increase in quarterly net income, to $23 million, compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. The 23 cent per-share profit was identical to the company's earnings in the year-prior period, and was in line with the expectations of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Acquisitions pushed up Old National's fourth-quarter interest income. The company's net interest income rose 10%, to $84.3 million. Of that total, $19 million was due to accounting benefits from its acquisitions in the last several years of Indiana Community Bank, Monroe Bank and Integra Bank.

Old National's net interest margin widened by 14 basis points, to 4.34%. The bank's provision for loan losses more than doubled, to $2.2 million, and its provision for taxes rose by 23%, to $14.6 million. Chargeoffs declined nearly fourfold, to $2.2 million from $8.5 million.

Old National's noninterest income rose 2%, to $46.9 million. Its expenses rose 11%, to $99.4 million, due to costs associated with integrating acquisitions, the company said.

In recent years Old National has tried to balance expansion with controlling costs. It followed this summer's announcement of a plan to sell 27 branches with an announcement this month of a deal to buy 24 Bank of America branches.

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