Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. in Olney, Md., said Thursday that its net income rose almost 33% from a year earlier, to $11.3 million.

The $3.6 billion-asset company earned 47 cents a share, exceeding the average analysts' estimates by 13 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

The growth was partially due to a $3.5 million credit from Sandy Spring's loan-loss provision, compared to a $2.5 million provision a year earlier. Revenue from wealth management services, including fees from trust and investment management and sales of investment products, rose 20% from a year earlier. This was due to new clients and an increase in the assets under management.

A research note from Sandler O'Neill & Partners LP reported that most operating trends were positive for Sandy Spring with the exception of credit. Problem loans were up 8% from the second quarter. This was mainly due to one commercial real estate loan totaling $13.6 million that was moved to non-accrual during the quarter.

Sandler O'Neill analyst Casey Orr also wrote in his note to clients that this was the first quarter of positive loan growth since the fourth quarter of 2008. This slight increase reflected strength in commercial owner occupied real estate and residential construction loans.

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