Northwest Bancshares, Inc. announced net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 of $20.4 million , or $0.22 per diluted share. In a release on Jan. 24 , the Company said that this represents an increase of $4.1 million , or 24.7 percent, over the same quarter last year when net income was $16.3 million , or $0.18 per diluted share, and an increase of $2.8 million , or 15.7 percent, compared to the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2013 when net income was $17.6 million , or $0.19 per diluted share. The annualized returns on average shareholders' equity and average assets for the current quarter were 7.06 percent and 1.02 percent compared to 5.65 percent and 0.81 percent for the same quarter last year and 6.18 percent and 0.88 percent for the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2013 . For the year ended Dec. 31, 2013 net income was $66.7 million , which represents an increase of $3.1 million , or 5.0 percent, compared to net income of $63.6 million for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012 . Diluted earnings per share for the year ended Dec. 31, 2013 increased to $0.73 from $0.68 for the year ended Dec. 31, 2012 . The returns on average shareholders' equity and average assets were 5.88 percent and 0.84 percent, respectively, for the current year compared to 5.48 percent and 0.79 percent, respectively, in the prior year. The Company also announced that its Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.13 per share and a special cash dividend of $0.10 per share, both payable on Feb. 13 , to shareholders of record as of Feb. 3 . This represents the 77th consecutive quarter in which the Company has paid a cash dividend. William Wagner , President and CEO, said, "Given the continued consistency in annual earnings and our robust capital position, we are pleased to return some excess capital to our shareholders in the form of a special dividend of $0.10 per share. We are also pleased to report positive trends in the most challenging areas of our operation. While our net interest margin continues to shrink, the rate of contraction has slowed, as we lost only two basis points per quarter over the past two quarters. We continued to experience solid loan growth with a $75 million increase during the quarter, split proportionately between the personal and commercial portfolios. Classified and nonaccrual loans continued to decrease which resulted in the recording of the lowest quarterly provision for loan losses since the credit crisis began in 2008." Net interest income decreased by $4.3 million , or 6.4 percent, to $62.0 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 , from $66.3 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012 , as decreases in interest income on loans receivable and investment securities of $5.5 million and $816,000 , respectively, were partially offset by a $2.1 million decrease in interest paid on deposit accounts. These changes from the previous year were due primarily to the continued low level of market interest rates. The provision for loan losses decreased by $7.2 million , or 88.2 percent, to $964,000 for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 , from $8.2 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012 . Loans 90 days or more delinquent decreased by $10.5 million , or 15.5 percent, to $57.8 million at Dec. 31, 2013 from $68.3 million at Dec. 31, 2012 . Additionally, criticized loans decreased by $36.5 million , or 11.0 percent, to $295.5 million at Dec. 31, 2013 from $332.0 million at Dec. 31, 2012 . At Dec. 31, 2013 , the allowance for loan losses was $71.3 million , or 1.23 percent of total loans, compared to $73.2 million , or 1.28 percent of total loans, at Dec. 31, 2012 . Net charge-offs were $5.5 million , or 0.38 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 compared to $6.1 million , or 0.43 percent for the same quarter last year. Noninterest income increased by $6.2 million , or 42.6 percent, to $20.9 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 , from $14.7 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012 . This increase is due primarily to a $5.5 million increase in the gain on sale of investments. Additionally, the loss on the sale of real estate owned decreased by $2.1 million as the portfolio of foreclosed real estate decreased by $8.0 million , or 30.4 percent, compared to last year. Partially offsetting these increases was a decrease in mortgage banking income of $1.6 million , due primarily to retaining all new residential mortgage originations. Noninterest expense increased by $2.2 million , or 4.3 percent, to $52.6 million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2013 , from $50.4 million for the quarter ended Dec. 30, 2012 , due primarily to an increase in marketing expense of $1.1 million which was due to the timing of various campaigns in the current and prior year. ((Comments on this story may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org ))
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