Umpqua Holdings in Portland, Ore., posted stronger quarterly earnings because of an increase in mortgage banking fees and lower costs.

The $23.4 billion-asset company said in a press release Wednesday that its fourth-quarter profit rose 21% from a year earlier to $63.4 million.

Fee income jumped 38% to $69.3 million, primarily from revenue tied to residential mortgage banking, which nearly doubled to $32.4 million. Securities gains rose by 150% to $2.6 million.

Net interest income fell 4% to $219.8 million because of lower interest income from the accretion of the credit discount tied to loans Umpqua obtained when it bought Sterling Financial in April 2014. Umpqua's net interest margin compressed by 32 basis points to 4.37%.

Total loans increased by 10% to $16.8 billion. Consumer credit climbed 36% to $527.2 million, while residential development loans increased 22% to $99.5 million. Multifamily loans rose 17% to $3.1 billion.

Noninterest expenses fell 3% to $185.1 million; merger-related costs fell 64% to $3.7 million. Salaries and employee benefits increased by 2% to $106.2 million.

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