SunTrust Banks in Atlanta reported higher quarterly profit because of lower expenses and growth in most loan categories.

Net income at the $191 billion-asset company rose 24% from a year earlier, to $467 million, or 91 cents a share. The results included 3 cents per share tied to discrete tax benefits.

Total revenue rose 0.1%, to about $2 billion.

Net interest, income after the loan-loss provision, increased 5%, to $1.2 billion. Total loans held for investment rose 3%, to $136 billion, while the net interest margin widened by 2 basis points, to 2.98%. The provision fell by 31%, to $51 million.

SunTrust's nonperforming loans rose 6%, to $672 million, after the company downgraded certain energy sector loans. Nonperforming loans comprised 0.49% of total loans, up slightly from a year earlier.

Fee income fell 4%, to $765 million, because of lower wealth-management revenue, mortgage-origination income and a decline in asset disposition gains.

Noninterest expense fell 9%, to $1.3 billion, though the fourth quarter of 2014 included a $145 million legal provision. The efficiency ratio improved by 604 basis points, to 62.96%.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.