TCF Financial in Wayzata, Minn., reported higher profits on lower provision costs and a pickup in lending in the fourth quarter.

The $20.7 billion-asset company earned $52.5 million, more than double its profits from a year earlier. Earnings per share were 29 cents, in line with an estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

The provision for bad loans declined 68%, to $17.6 million. But other factors helped earnings, too.

Total loans rose 6% to $17.4 billion mostly from higher auto- and inventory-financing balances. Net interest income grew 27% to $188.1 million as a result, even though the net interest margin fell 14 basis points to 4.35%.

Fee-based income increased 5%, to $115.7 million, as an uptick in leasing revenue offset lower gains on the sale of auto loans.

Noninterest expenses held steady at $222.5 million.

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