Commerce sees flat 2014 after fourth-quarter earnings drop

Commerce Bancshares’ earnings fell 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, pressured by low short-term interest rates.

The Kansas City-based bank holding company posted a profit of $62.7 million, or 62 cents a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That was down from $65.9 million, or 65 cents a share, in the prior-year quarter.

Commerce enjoyed solid deposit growth, but loans grew at a modest pace and low short-term interest rates continued to compress earnings, the company said in a statement.

Commerce wrapped up 2014 with $261.8 million in earnings, compared with $261 million in 2013. The company also ended the year with $24 billion in assets, including $11.5 billion in loans.

For the fourth quarter, the bank set aside $4.7 million for potential losses on loans, which was less than in the previous quarter and the fourth quarter a year ago.

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