United Bankshares in Charleston, W.Va., reported an uptick in fourth-quarter profit as lower expenses offset lower average yields on earning assets.

The $12.6 billion-asset company's net income rose 0.6% from the year-earlier quarter to $33.5 million. Earnings per share were unchanged at 48 cents, missing the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg by a penny.

Net interest income fell 8.1% to $93.8 million. The average yield on earning assets fell 27 basis points. The net interest margin narrowed 21 basis points to 3.56%.

Noninterest income fell 6.7% to $18.1 million on lower net gains on sales and calls of investment securities and lower fees from deposit services.

Noninterest expense fell 8.4% to $58.6 million on decreases in employee compensation and merger expenses. Other real estate owned expenses, net occupancy and other operating expenses were also contributing factors.The efficiency ratio improved 2.79 percentage points to 3.56%.

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