Flagstar Bancorp in Troy, Mich., said its fourth-quarter profit rose 20% to $33 million from a year earlier as its lending rose by nearly half and its expenses fell.

The $12.8 billion-asset bank's earnings per share of 44 cents met the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. It announced the results Tuesday.

Net interest income rose 24.6% to $76 million, total loans rose 47% to $6.2 billion and the net interest margin fell 5 basis points to 2.69%.

Noninterest income fell 1% to $97 million as a result of a lower net gain on loan sales, loan fees and charges and net return on mortgage servicing assets.

Noninterest expense fell 7.2% to $129 million on lower commissions related to reduced business activity, asset-resolution expense and legal and professional expenses.

The efficiency ratio was 75.2%, an improvement from 87.2% in the year-earlier quarter.

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