UPDATE 2-Associated Banc-Corp Q1 profit beats Wall Street view

jueves 17 de abril de 2008 23:59 CEST

(Adds details, analyst's comments)

By Sweta Singh

BANGALORE, April 17 (Reuters) - Associated Banc-Corp ASBC.O, a U.S. Midwest banking company, reported quarterly profit above Wall Street estimates, helped by higher net interest income and lower interest expenses, even as provision for loan losses soared.

The Green Bay, Wisconsin-based company reported first-quarter net income of $66.5 million, or 52 cents a share, compared with $73.4 million, or 57 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 48 cents a share, excluding items, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company benefited from solid loan growth, expense control and stability in net interest margins in the quarter, analyst Terry McEvoy of Oppenheimer Co & Inc said by phone.

Net interest margin should remain stable for the rest of 2008, McEvoy said.

The company's net interest margin, a measure of a bank's profitability, slid 4 basis points to 3.58 percent, in the quarter.

Provision for loan losses jumped to $23.0 million from $5.1 million, while net interest income rose $6.1 million to $165.1 million in the quarter.   Continuación...