City National Corp.'s fourth-quarter earnings rose 8% on strong growth in lending, but the profit was squeezed by low interest rates, leaving lower results than Wall Street expected.
The Los Angeles-based parent of City National Bank earned $47.2 million, 87 cents a share, compared with $43.9 million, 82 cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2011. Analysts had expected $1 a share, according to Thompson Financial.
Quarterly revenue rose 5% year-over-year to $303.6 million, slightly higher than the analyst consensus.
City National Corp. is the largest bank based in Southern California as measured by assets, which reached $28.6 billion at the end of 2012 -- up 21% from the fourth quarter of 2011.
"2012 was a very strong year of growth in earnings, assets, clients and capabilities," said City National's president and chief executive, Russell Goldsmith. "Net income and revenue were up significantly, loan production set new records, deposits grew at double-digit rates, credit quality remained strong, and assets reached a new record."