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Washington Mutual (WM) said fourth-quarter net income fell from a year ago, capping a year when profit fell due to fewer mortgage originations.

The bank holding company said profit fell in the fourth quarter to $668 million, or 76 cents a share, from $842 million, or 93 cents a share.

But the results did beat the current analysts' earnings expectations of 75 cents a share.

WaMu said the lower fourth-quarter profit fell primarily due to several unusual items in that period, including a reversal of reserves for loan and lease losses.

However, for the full year, in which net income fell to $2.88 billion, or $3.26 a share, from $3.88 billion, or $4.21 a share, the company also cited lower securities gains and lower home loan mortgage banking income.

Fourth-quarter net interest income rose 6% to $1.85 billion.

Profit at the company's mortgage banking segment was $138 million in the fourth quarter compared with $270 million in the third quarter and $232 million in the year-earlier quarter.