Fourth-quarter profits rose at State Street ( STT) and Mellon Financial ( MEL), two big trust and securities processing banks.

Earnings at Boston-based State Street rose 17% to $291 million, or 86 cents a share, compared to $249 million, or 74 cents a share, a year ago. Fourth-quarter profit came in two cents ahead of the Thomson Financial consensus estimate of 84 cents a share.

Earnings at Mellon, which is merging with Bank of New York ( BK) to create the largest processing and trust bank, rose 14%, also beating Wall Street expectations.

In the quarter, Mellon earned $237 million, or 57 cents a share, compared to $208 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Income from continuing operations rose to $298 million, or 72 cents a share, compared to $201 million, or 48 cents a share, in the year-ago period. On that basis, Mellon beat the Thomson Financial consensus estimate of 58 cents a share.