Signature Bank (SBNY) in New York recorded its 16th consecutive quarter of record earnings, driven by a 28% increase in its asset base.

Signature earned $60.2 million in the third quarter, up 26% from the same period in 2012, it reported Tuesday. Earnings per share were $1.23, beating the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by 5 cents.

Signature's net interest income rose 18%, to $167.4 million, as its average interest-earning assets grew by 26%, to $20 billion. Total assets hit $21 billion, up from $16.5 billion a year ago. Signature's net interest margin decreased by 24 basis points, to 3.32%, largely due to low interest rates, the bank said.

Signature increased its loan-loss provision by 9%, to $11 million, though its net chargeoffs dropped by 11%, to $3.1 million.

Noninterest income fell 5%, to $7.9 million, mostly due to a decline in gains on loan sales.

Signature's noninterest expense rose 14%, to $62.3 million, largely due to the addition of new private-banking and asset-based lending teams, the bank said. Signature has hired eight private-banking teams so far in 2013, it said.

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