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First Niagara 3Q net income up 25 pct

BUFFALO — First Niagara Financial Group Inc. said Thursday that its profit rose 25 percent in the third quarter as loan quality continued to improve, its commercial lending business picked up and deposits grew.

The Buffalo-based bank posted net income of $57 million, or 19 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 compared with $45.6 million, or 22 cents per share, a year ago.

The results included one-time costs for a branch closure and other merger related expenses.

Excluding the one-time costs, the company said it earned $73.6 million, or 25 cents per share, up from $46.9 million, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.

That was a penny per share shy of analysts’ expectations for earnings of 26 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.