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BancorpSouth profit rises by 4 percent in quarter

October 23, 2013
Associated Press

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) — Regional bank BancorpSouth Corp. cut costs and bad loans in 2013's third quarter, as profit increased by 4 percent from the same three months of 2012.

BancorpSouth posted quarterly profit of $24.9 million, or 26 cents per share Monday. That's up from $23.8 million or 25 cents per share in 2012's third quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet had estimated 27 cents per share, on average.

The company says it increased loans and net interest income for the second quarter in a row, while it benefited from reduced costs after an employee buyout. However, noninterest revenue fell as mortgage refinancing fees declined sharply.

"Our results for the third quarter reflect improved profitability achieved through specific initiatives that were announced during the first half of the year as well as a continuing focus on growth and efficiency," CEO Dan Rollins said in a statement.

The company set aside only $500,000 for future bad loans, down from $3 million in 2013's second quarter and $6 million a year ago.

"We continue to be encouraged by trends in our credit quality, specifically the pace at which we are moving problem assets," Rollins said.

BancorpSouth's return on assets rose to 0.76 percent. That key measure of profitability has bounced around in recent quarters at the bank, and has trailed statewide and national averages. In 2013's second quarter, BancorpSouth had return on assets of 0.63 percent.

The amount that the company collected in interest from borrowers, net of what it paid out to savers, rose to $100 million. The net interest margin, a measure of that spread divided by all loans, rose to 3.45 percent, with the company saying new loans and redemption of some interest-bearing securities allowed it to widen that cornerstone measure of bank profits even as interest rates have continued to be relatively low.

Based in Tupelo, the $12.9 billion bank has offices in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas.



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