Opus Bank in Irvine, Calif., missed third-quarter earnings estimates, largely due to a steep increase in its loan loss provision.

The $4.7 billion-asset bank earned $7.7 million, or 25% less than the previous quarter. Earnings were 24 cents per share, missing a Bloomberg analyst poll by 8 cents.

A higher-than-expected provision drove the decline. The bank set aside $4.5 million for bad loans, after recording a $16,000 million recovery in the second quarter. The provision included a $1.6 million reserve for three problem loans, as well as $713,000 related to downgrades.

"We believe that the drivers of the three impaired loan relationships are not pervasive to our overall asset quality," the bank said in a press release Monday.

The bank's loan portfolio grew 9%, to $3.7 billion, thanks to strong gains in commercial lending and specialty finance. Net interest income climbed 2%, to $38.3 million. The net interest margin dropped 25 basis points, to 3.79%, because of lower yields.

Fee-based income fell by 5%, to $3.9 million, partially from a restructuring of the bank's investment services portfolio.

Operating expenses fell 1% from the prior quarter, to $25.1 million.

Opus' shares fell sharply on news of the earnings decline. The stock was trading at $27.57 midday Monday, down 5.7% from Friday's close.

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