Fourth Quarter 2011 Operating Results
Net Interest Income
The core net interest margin, excluding the net impact to interest income of $25.0 million resulting from covered loan activity and amortization of the FDIC indemnification asset, remained strong at 4.13% for the fourth quarter of 2011, as compared to 3.98% for the third quarter of 2011 and 4.43% for the fourth quarter of 2010. 1 Net interest income, adjusted for the net income of covered loan dispositions, totaled $204.0 million for the fourth quarter, an increase of 3% or $5.5 million from the third quarter of 2011 1.
The increase in both the core net interest margin and adjusted net interest income was primarily due to a reduction in the cost of deposits and an increase in loans receivable. In addition, although quarterly average interest-earning assets declined between the third and fourth quarters of 2011, the composition of interest earnings assets changed and thus resulted in an improvement in our yield on total interest-earning assets. Average loan balances for the fourth quarter totaled $14.3 billion, an increase of 2% or $259.6 million from the average loan balances for the third quarter. The impact of the increase in average loan balances was partially offset by a decrease in the loan yield on noncovered loans. The yield on noncovered loans was 4.76% for the fourth quarter, compared to 4.87% in the prior quarter.The cost of deposits decreased to 0.55% for the fourth quarter of 2011, down 10 basis points from 0.65% in the third quarter of 2011. This improvement in the cost of deposits was primarily achieved through actively managing down higher interest-bearing deposit accounts, particularly time deposits. The average cost on time deposits declined by 11 basis points in the fourth quarter to 1.01%, resulting in cost savings of $2.0 million as compared to the third quarter of 2011.