Higher costs offset revenue gains at Community Bank System (CBU) in Syracuse, N.Y., in the fourth quarter.

Earnings at the $7.5 billion-asset company fell roughly 1% from a year earlier, to $18.8 million.

Earnings per share of 47 cents were below the average analysts' estimate by 6 cents, according to Bloomberg.

Noninterest income rose 17.5% from the fourth quarter of 2011, to $26.2 million because of higher service fees and wealth management revenues. Noninterest expense increased by 19% from a year earlier, to $56.9 million, as a result of personnel costs and a charge for settling litigation.

Net interest income rose roughly 8.7% from a year earlier, to $60 million. The net interest margin narrowed 23 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.83%.

Community Bank System recorded loans of $3.9 billion, up 11.8% from the fourth quarter of 2011. The loan-loss provision increased 1.7% from a year earlier, to $42.9 million.

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