PNC Financial quarterly profit beats on higher loan growth

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© Reuters. A PNC Bank branch is shown in Charlotte© Reuters. A PNC Bank branch is shown in Charlotte

(Reuters) – PNC Financial Services Group Inc (N:) on Wednesday posted a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, driven by growth in its loan book.

PNC Financial, one of the largest local U.S. lenders by assets, said its loan portfolio grew 6% to $239.8 billion, with commercial lending accounting for 67% of total loans.

The U.S. regional bank’s net interest income rose marginally to $2.49 billion as higher loans and lower borrowing costs offset lower interest rates.

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates thrice last year, pressuring banks’ profits.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based bank’s net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $1.30 billion in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $1.27 billion a year earlier.

On a per share basis, the bank earned $2.97, topping analysts’ estimates of $2.93 per share.

Total revenue rose 6.2% to $4.61 billion.

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