PORTLAND, Ore. - U.S. Bancorp has projected a reduction in nonperforming assets in the fourth quarter, after selling $70 million of nonperforming highly leveraged loans in the third quarter.

Nonperformers fell to $335 million from $425 million at midyear. The ratio of nonperforming assets to loans and other real estate owned fell to 2.41% from 2.83%.

U.S. Bancorp earned $41.6 million in the 1992 third quarter, compared with $51.4 million a year earlier.

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