Metro Bancorp in Harrisburg, Pa., reported higher quarterly income largely because of increased real estate lending.

The $3 billion-asset company, which has been under pressure from activist investors to sell itself, reported that its fourth-quarter profit rose 14% from a year earlier, to $5.6 million. Profit of 38 cents a share were in line with the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Net interest income rose 10%, to $25.6 million. Total loans increase 14%, to $2 billion, while the net interest margin expanded by 5 basis points, to 3.60%. Metro Bancorp credited its improved to results to "particularly strong growth" in commercial real estate loans that reflected "a steady progression over the past four quarters."

Noninterest income fell by 6%, to $7.5 million. Noninterest expense decreased by nearly 2%, to $22.4 million.

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