Pinnacle Financial Partners (PNFP) in Nashville, Tenn., reported higher quarterly earnings on strong loan growth.

The $5.6 billion-asset company's fourth-quarter earnings rose 29% from a year earlier, to $15.3 million. At 44 cents a share, the results beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by a penny.

Total loans rose 12% from the end of 2012, to $4.1 billion. The results were also aided by a 21% increase in average noninterest-bearing deposits over the same period. "Our deposit franchise continues to grow and gain momentum in two very attractive banking markets," M. Terry Turner, Pinnacle's president and chief executive, said in a press release Wednesday.

Net interest income increased 7% from a year earlier, to $45 million, reaching its highest level since the company's founding in 2000. Noninterest income fell 5% from a year earlier, to $12.5 million.

"Given that our revenue growth is all organic, we believe that increase will compare favorably to other peer banks," Harold Carpenter, the company's chief financial officer, said in the release. "Primarily due to our ability to produce meaningful net loan growth, we continued our track record for growing net interest income despite some shrinkage in the net interest margin."

The net interest margin compressed by 10 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.70%. The company said it expects the margin to remain between 3.70% and 3.80% this year.

Noninterest expense decreased 7% from a year earlier, to $32.6 million. The loan-loss provision fell 10% from the fourth quarter of 2012, to $2.2 million. Net chargeoffs decreased by 29% from a year earlier, to $1.5 million.

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