Pacific Continental Corp. in Eugene, Ore., reported Monday that its income for the third quarter was $2.6 million, up 125% compared with the same period a year earlier. Earnings per share more than doubled, to 14 cents, beating consensus analysts' estimates by three cents.

The $1.3 billion-asset company attributed the earnings growth in part to improved asset quality. Nonperforming assets decreased by $12 million for the third quarter, to $44.5 million or 3.56% of assets. The provision for loan losses was down for the ninth consecutive quarter to $1.8 million, a decrease from $3.8 million a year ago.

While period-end net loans declined during the quarter due to a contraction in the real estate portfolio, the drop was its smallest in the last 10 quarters, the company reported. Additionally, outstanding commercial loans grew 6.1% during the first nine months of 2011. This increase "continues to validate the company's business model and focused strategy on meeting the credit needs of community-based businesses, nonprofit organizations, health care and professional service providers," Pacific Continental said in a press release.

The net interest margin for the quarter fell 14 basis points from a year earlier and two basis points from the second quarter, to 4.56%. The linked-quarter decline was primarily due to an increase in the lower-yielding securities portfolio and an additional charge to interest expense related to the discount on a brokered time deposit.

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