Loan growth in Arizona and Southern California led to improved third-quarter profit at Western Alliance Bancorp. in Phoenix.

The $17 billion-asset company's net income rose 9% to $67.1 million from the second quarter. Earnings per share rose 7% to 64 cents. Yearly comparisons are skewed due to Western Alliance's April purchase of $1.3 billion portfolio of hotel franchise loans from GE Capital.

Net interest income after the loan-loss provision rose 6% to $171.5 million. Total loans rose 21% to $13 billion. Commercial and industrial loans held for investment rose 2% to $5.7 billion. Western Alliance's Arizona market originated $40 million of new loans in the quarter and its Southern California market originated $32 million in new lending.

The net interest margin narrowed four basis points to 4.55%. as Western Alliance incurred additional interest expense from its June issuance of $175 million of subordinated debt.

Noninterest income rose 25% to $10.7 million on higher deposit service charges and Small Business Administration warrant income.

Noninterest expense rose 4% to $82 million on an increase in salaries and employee benefits and data processing fees.

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