Zions Bancorporation (ZION) in Salt Lake City reported lower third-quarter earnings but still managed to meet analysts' expectations.

The $53.4 billion-asset company posted income of $62.3 million, down 4% from a year earlier but up almost 13% from the second quarter. Earnings per share of 34 cents met estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Net interest income totaled $444.2 million, down almost 6% from a year earlier. Interest and fees on loan slid almost 8%, to $479.2 million. The net interest margin fell 36 basis points, to 3.63%, year over year.

Total loans rose 1%, to $37.2 billion, from a year earlier, predominantly from increases in the commercial and consumer portfolios. Commercial and industrial loans rose 10%, to $10.7 billion, while one-to-four family residential loans increased 7%, to $4.2 billion.

"We are pleased with the accomplishments in the third quarter, including stronger loan growth and the final redemption of [Troubled Asset Relief Program] funds," Harris H. Simmons, chairman and chief executive officer for Zions, said in a news release. "Regarding loan growth, we currently expect stronger loan balances in the fourth quarter and in 2013. We are also pleased with the continued strong improvement in credit quality, including a strong improvement in nonperforming assets and net charge-offs compared to the prior quarter."

Noninterest income totaled $119.2 million, down more than 1% from a year earlier. Fixed-income securities gains declined more than 76%, to $3 million. Noninterest expense totaled $395 million, down about 3% from a year earlier.

The company recorded a $1.9 million credit for its loan losses compared with a $14.6 million charge a year earlier.

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