State Bank Financial in Atlanta reported a decline quarterly profits as the accounting benefits related to its failed-bank purchases continued to wane.

The $2.9 billion-asset company's earnings fell 19% from a year earlier, to $7.6 million. Earnings per share were 23 cents, missing a Bloomberg analyst poll by 7 cents.

The fourth-quarter results include State Bank's acquisition of the $186 million-asset Bank of Atlanta in October.

Interest income plunged from a year earlier, despite the acquisition. Net interest income fell 49%, to $32.5 million, primarily from lower accretion income on loans. The accretion income is a related to the accounting treatment of bargain purchase gains. Although it was major driver of earnings up front, its waning nature is a common problem for banks that were active buyers of failed banks. State Bank was among the busiest, picking up dozen failed banks, starting with the six related Security Bank units spread out in Georgia in 2009.

State Bank's loan portfolio grew 18%, to $1.61 billion. Loans were up 8.6% from the end of the third quarter and included $116 million in loans from its Bank of Atlanta acquisition and $28.5 million from organic growth. For the year, the company reported organic loan growth of $197 million, or 17.5%.

The company set aside $1.2 million for problem loans, after recording a $98,000 recovery in the fourth quarter of last year. In a press release, the company attributed the rise to its organic loan growth.

The net interest margin was 4.8%, compared to 11.26% a year earlier.

Income from fee-based sources was $6.9 million, compared to a loss of $27.4 million a year earlier. The previous year's loss was driven by amortization of the company's FDIC receivable for loss-share agreements.

Noninterest expenses rose 14%, to $25.7 million, due to higher salary costs.

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