Our guidance has been, for net interest income, to be stable to slightly lower over the course of the year and in the course of the coming year. One of the drivers of growing net interest income will be an improvement in small business lending, which is a-- recently a significant part of what we do.
The smallest differences in our economy are still reasonably slow to emerge from -- with recession. Some of the indicators of their optimism are flagging somewhat and we're not currently expecting strength in this segment in the third quarter. We were still seeing quite a lot of strength from middle market and larger-sized commercialist borrowers, and some improvement in consumer lending as well.
I'm encouraged by the improvement in all the major areas of credit risk. As I indicated the -- first of all, nonaccrual and classified loan inflows dropped significantly in the second quarter, a sign that the balance sheets and cash flows of our customers are improving at a healthy pace. Secondly, the past due, nonaccrual and classified loans, other real estate-owned and TDRs all improved materially compared to the prior quarter. It should support our expectation for continued reduction in net charge-offs.
Finally, net charge-offs declined meaningfully. As you've seen in the release, it fell to an annualized 47 basis points, assisted by both an 8% sequential order decline in gross charge-offs as well as a 19% increase in recoveries.Based on the strength of our affiliate banks' earnings, which were an annualized $543 million after-tax in the second quarter and the aforementioned continued improvement in credit quality, we remain quite comfortable about our prospects for redeeming the final $700 million installment of TARP preferred stock in the second half of the year. This will result in further earnings per share savings of about $0.26 annually.
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