Aided by gains from a recent acquisition, Simmons First National (SFN) in Pine Bluff, Ark., reported a $9.9 million profit in the second quarter, a 51% increase from the same period last year.

The $4.3 billion-asset company said Thursday that earnings per share came in at 56 cents, beating by two cents the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Income from interest-bearing assets was $40.4 million, up 37% year over year. The increase reflected growth in the bank's loan portfolio, particularly from its purchase of Metropolitan National Bank in Little Rock. Total loans increased by 13%, to $1.9 billion. The net interest margin climbed 38 basis points, to 4.34%.

Simmons agreed in September to buy the $991 million-asset Metropolitan National after winning a bankruptcy auction. The deal closed in November.

Fee income rose 37% year over year, to $15.3 million. The bank attributed the increase to a $2.3 million gain from the sale of branches during its integration of Metropolitan, as well as a $1 million gain from the sale of its merchant services business.

Noninterest expenses were up 31%, to $39.8 million, due to nonrecurring costs associated with the merger and the consolidation of its three banking charters in May.

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