City National Corp. will take an after-tax hit to fourth-quarter earnings of $2 million, or 4 cents a share, resulting from the settlement of a lender-liability lawsuit.

Despite the charge, the bank earned its highest income ever in 1996, $66.6 million, a 36% increase from 1995, it reported. The $4.5 billion asset bank said this week that it hoped that its insurance company would cover part of the litigation expenses.

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