Wintrust Financial in Rosemont, Ill., reported higher quarterly earnings on increased revenue.

The $20 billion-asset company's fourth-quarter profit rose 8% from a year earlier, to $38.13 million. Earnings of 75 cents a share were 2 cents shy of the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Wintrust's revenue rose 12%, to $211.3 million.

Net interest income increased 8%, to $153.7 million. Loans rose 2.3% from the third quarter and 11% from a year earlier, to $14.6 billion. Commercial lending and Wintrust's life insurance premium finance business reported the highest growth, with annual rates of 25% and 27% respectively, from the previous quarter. The net interest margin was flat from the third quarter and compressed by 7 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.46%.

"Growth in 2014 primarily resulted from leveraging our consistently strong loan pipeline to grow internally," Ed Wehmer, Wintrust's chief executive, said in a press release. "The fourth quarter … was highlighted by continued loan and deposit growth, improvement in credit quality metrics, relatively stable net interest margin and increased wealth management revenues."

Wintrust's loan-loss provision rose 60% from a year earlier, to $6.1 million. Nonperforming assets fell 19%, to $124.6 million.

Fee income rose 24.4%, to $57.7 million. Several line items — wealth management, mortgage banking and fees from covered-call options — showed significant improvement.

Noninterest expenses rose 13%, to $143.4 million, including a 58% increase in commission and incentive-based compensation.

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