Nine regional banks reported mostly positive earnings results Monday, citing healthy loan growth as the main booster to net interest income despite some margin declines.

"The story in the quarter was loan growth," said Morgan Stanley banking analyst Dennis Shea. He was referring specifically to First Fidelity Bancorp, Lawrenceville, N.J., which saw a 6% jump in loan growth on an annualized basis from the second quarter to the third.

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