Republic Bancorp (RBCAA) in Louisville, Ky., posted higher quarterly earnings after booking gains tied to recent failed-bank acquisitions.

The $3.4 billion-asset company's fourth-quarter earnings rose 7% from a year earlier, to $6.6 million, or 33 cents a share.

Net income for 2012 rose 27% from a year earlier, to $119.3 million. Republic's purchases of failed banks in Tennessee and Minnesota added $55.4 million in bargain purchase gains to the bottom line, the company said in a press release Thursday.

A larger loan portfolio also boosted revenue. Net interest income increased 14% from a year earlier, to $30.6 million. The loan-loss reserve nearly tripled from a year earlier, to $1.3 million, because of the weakness of some retail borrowers.

Mortgage banking activity also provided a lift to the company's financial results. Noninterest income rose 44% from year earlier, to $9.3 million, including 254% spike in mortgage banking fees. Mortgage application volume rose 34% last year compared to 2011, to $782 million.

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