The Denver Post - - BUSINESS -

Zions Ban­corp said its fourthquar­ter earn­ings rose 2.3 per­cent on stronger- than- ex­pected rev­enue and lower ex­penses.

The re­gional bank, par­ent to Vec­tra Bank in Colorado, also set aside more funds to cover en­ergy loans that it doesn’t ex­pect to col­lect as the re­sult of low oil and nat­u­ral- gas prices.

In the lat­est quar­ter, Zions’ loan­loss pro­vi­sion reached $ 22.7 mil­lion, mostly re­lated to its en­ergy port­fo­lio, com­pared with $ 11.6 mil­lion a year ear­lier.

“We boosted the re­serve level in the fourth quar­ter due to the re­cent ad­di­tional weak­ness in en­ergy com­mod­ity prices, but we ex­pect that our loan losses from this port­fo­lio should be man­age­able,” CEO Har­ris Sim­mons said in pre­pared re­marks.

Ex­clud­ing the en­ergy loan im­pact, net loans and leases rose 2 per­cent to $ 728 mil­lion from the third quar­ter.

Over­all, Zions re­ported a profit of $ 88.2 mil­lion, or 43 cents a share, up from $ 66.7 mil­lion, or 33 cents a share, a year ear­lier.

Rev­enue in­creased 2.3 per­cent to $ 572.9 mil­lion as an in­crease in net in­ter­est in­come off­set a de­cline in non­in­ter­est in­come.

Net in­ter­est mar­gin fell to 3.23 per­cent from 3.25 per­cent. To­tal non­in­ter­est ex­pense fell 4.7 per­cent to $ 402.8 mil­lion.

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