Decent loan growth at more favorable margins made up for higher expenses and a slight decline in fee income at U.S. Bancorp.

The Minneapolis company reported third-quarter profits of $1.6 billion during the period ending Sep. 30, or 4% more than a year earlier. Earnings per share were 88 cents, in line with the median estimate of analysts compiled by FactSet Research Systems.

Net interest income climbed 8% to $3.1 billion. The net interest margin increased 12 basis points to 3.10%.

Loans rose 3% to $277.6 billion. Commercial and industrial loan balances increased about 5%, offsetting an ongoing decline in commercial real estate. Auto leases jumped 34% to $7.8 billion.

However, noninterest income fell by about 1% to $2.4 billion due to lower mortgage banking and merchant processing revenue.

Noninterest expenses edged up 4% to just over $3 billion, on higher compensation costs. The efficiency ratio was 54.3%.

Bloomberg News

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Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton is a reporter for American Banker, where she writes about the business of national and regional banking.