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Area banks report higher profits

Two regional banks reported higher third-quarter profits, demonstrating that community banks are less affected by the national crisis than the industry's giants.

Community Bank System, which owns 33 branches and a money manager in Western New York, said third-quarter profits rose 7 percent, driven by internal loan and core deposit growth, higher fee income, a better profit margin, and stable asset quality.

The DeWitt-based parent of Community Bank said it earned $11.8 million, or 39 cents per share, up from $11 million, or 37 cents per share, a year ago.

Separately, Warren, Pa.-based Northwest Bancorp said profits rose 2.5 percent to $9.8 million, or 20 cents per share, from $9.6 million, or 20 cents per share a year ago. Both quarters included reductions in market value of investment securities, while the current quarter also included after-tax charges for impaired investments in Freddie Mac preferred stock and other securities.

Net interest income rose 22.2 percent to $57.5 million, as the company's profit margin on lending hit the highest level in a decade.

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