Virginia Commerce Bancshares (VCBI) in Arlington recorded a slight dip in quarterly profit as it waited for final approval of its merger with United Bancshares (UBSI).

The $2.8 billion-asset Virginia Commerce earned $7 million in the third quarter, down from $7.1 million in the same period of 2012, it announced Thursday. Per-share earnings of 23 cents beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by 1 cent.

Virginia Commerce's net interest income fell 4%, to $25.3 million, as the company's net loans dropped by 4%, to $2 billion. Lending income decreased despite a widening in net interest margin of 26 basis points, to 3.88%.

Noninterest income dropped by 61%, to $1.8 million, as gains from securities sales fell. Noninterest expense decreased by 2%, to $14.9 million, as costs due to compensation and deposit insurance fell. It recorded $1.2 million in acquisition-related expenses.

The company lowered its loan-loss provision by 41%, to $1.8 million, as net chargeoffs dropped by 76%, to $2.1 million.

In January, Virginia Commerce agreed to sell itself to the Charleston, W.Va.-based United for about $491 million. The Federal Reserve has not yet approved the merger. The two companies' shareholders voted in favor of the merger this month, and it has been approved by state regulators, the company said in its earnings announcement.

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