SVB Financial Group's fourth-quarter net income was more than double what it earned a year earlier, at $35.6 million.

The $20 billion-asset company said late Thursday that higher net interest income and lower provisioning boosted earnings. Net interest income at the Santa Clara, Calif., company rose 34% from a year earlier, to $140 million.

The loan-loss provision fell 47% from a year earlier, to $8.2 million. The provision was much higher than the $800,000 it set aside in the third quarter, which the company attributed to increasing loan balances. As a result, the company’s quarterly net income fell 5% from a quarter earlier.

Total loans grew 10% from a quarter earlier, to $6.4 billion at Dec. 31.

SVB projected average loan balances to increase at a mid-20s percentage rate this year. The net interest margin is estimated to range between 3.2% and 3.3%, which would represent at least 10 basis points of expansion compared to Dec. 31.

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