United Bankshares (UBSI) in Charleston, W. Va., posted higher quarterly earnings due largely to reduced expenses.

The $8.5 billion-asset United earned $22.2 million in the third quarter, a 15% increase from the same period in 2012.

Its tax-equivalent net interest income fell 3%, to $69.1 million, as the average yield on earning assets decreased. Partially offsetting the decline was a 3% increase in average net loans and a 10% increase in average investment securities. United's net interest margin dropped 22 basis points, to 3.65%.

United's noninterest income rose 10%, to $18.3 million. The major factor driving the increase was the $2.3 million in other-than-temporary impairment charges on certain investment securities the company recognized in the third quarter of 2012.

Noninterest expenses dropped 10%, to $48.6 million, largely due to the $3.3 million litigation settlement charge United paid in the third quarter of 2012. Data processing and other real estate owned expenses also declined in the third quarter.

United increased its loan-loss provision 12%, to $4.8 million. Net chargeoffs rose 20%, to $4.8 million.

United agreed to buy the $2.8 billion-asset Virginia Commerce Bancorp (VCBI) in Arlington in January. The deal has been approved by shareholders and is awaiting regulatory approval.

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