Synovus Financial in Columbus, Ga., reported a higher third-quarter profit as its total loans and net interest income increased.

The $26.5 billion-asset company earned $44.2 million, up almost 19% from a year earlier. However, its earnings per share of 32 cents fell five cents short of estimates from analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Total loans ended the quarter at $20.6 billion, up more than 4% compared with a year earlier. Commercial real estate loans grew at an annual pace of almost 8%, while retail loans climbed roughly 9% on an annual basis.

Net interest income, before the provision for loan losses, increased about 1%, to $206.3 million, even though Synovus' net interest margin fell three basis points, to 3.37%, from a year earlier.

Noninterest income rose 0.6%, to $64 million, as mortgage banking revenue dropped about 12%, driven by lower gains on loan sales. Service charges on deposit accounts increased about 4%, to $20.2 million, and bankcard charges rose more than 5%, to $8.2 million.

Noninterest expense totaled $193.7 million, up roughly 3% as advertising expenses more than doubled to $7.2 million. The company had previously launched a marketing campaign designed to raise its brand awareness; it includes television, print and digital ads.

Synovus' provision for loan losses fell 43%, to $3.8 million, as credit quality continued to improve. Nonperforming loans, excluding those held for sale, were $242.4 million, a 46% drop from a year earlier.

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.