Net operating interest income for the third quarter was $261 million, down from $279 million in the prior quarter and $306 million a year ago. Third quarter results reflected a net interest spread of 2.28 percent on average interest-earning assets of $44.9 billion, compared with a net interest spread of 2.44 percent on average interest-earning assets of $44.8 billion in the prior quarter.
Commissions, fees and service charges, principal transactions, and other revenue in the third quarter were $153 million, compared with $154 million in the prior quarter and $181 million in the third quarter of 2011. Average commission per trade for the quarter was $11.24, compared to $10.68 in the prior quarter, and $10.76 in the third quarter of 2011.
Total operating expenses for the quarter increased $8 million sequentially to $289 million. Compensation and benefits included the impact of $13 million in severance associated with the August departure of the Company’s former Chief Executive Officer.
Total assets ended the quarter at $50.4 billion, growing $1.2 billion from the prior quarter, as customer net selling and net inflows increased cash and deposits by $3.2 billion, which was partially offset by deleveraging actions of $1.3 billion. Deleveraging included approximately $0.8 billion in brokerage-related customer cash directed to third party institutions, as well as $0.5 billion in terminated wholesale funding obligations, which resulted in a pre-tax loss of $51 million on early extinguishment of debt. The corresponding reduction to assets resulted in a gain on sale of securities, included in the $79 million of total net gains recorded during the quarter.
The Company’s loan portfolio ended the quarter at $11.1 billion, contracting $616 million from the prior quarter, primarily related to $458 million of paydowns. Provision for loan losses of $141 million included approximately $50 million related to loan charge-offs associated with newly identified bankruptcy filings. The Company utilizes third party servicers to obtain bankruptcy data specific to its loan portfolio. During the third quarter the Company identified an increase in bankruptcies reported to them by one specific servicer. In researching this increase the Company discovered that the servicer had not been reporting all prior bankruptcy data on a timely basis. As a result the Company implemented an enhanced procedure around all servicer reporting to corroborate bankruptcy reporting with independent third party data. Through this additional process, approximately $90 million of loans were identified in which the servicers failed to report the bankruptcy filing to the Company. Of those loans, approximately 90 percent are current. In accordance with the Company’s long-standing policy to write down loans to their collateral value when notified of a borrower bankruptcy, these loans were written down during the third quarter, resulting in an increase to provision for loan losses of approximately $50 million. The Company also noted these additional charge-offs were not a result of the recently-issued regulatory guidance on the treatment of discharged bankruptcies.