Southside Bancshares Inc. of Tyler, Texas, said that its second-quarter profits rose 18% from same period a year earlier, to $11.5 million, and that earnings per share increased 19.6%, to 67 cents.

The $3.2 billion-asset company attributed its improved performance to an increase in net interest income and a decline in nonperforming loans.

Net interest income rose 26.8%, to $24.6 million, from a year earlier, while nonperforming assets fell 20.4%, to $15.7 million. As a result, the company reduced its provision for loan losses by 18%, to $1.9 million. Overall, the ratio of nonperforming assets to total assets shrunk to 0.5% from 0.7%.

The company also said that during the second quarter it bought rest of Southside Financial Group LLC that it did not already own. That company invests in subprime auto paper.

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