REFILE-WRAPUP 1-First Niagara, TCF Financial Q3 below Street

Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:39am EDT

Oct 20 (Reuters) - First Niagara Financial and TCF Financial Corp posted quarterly earnings that narrowly missed Wall Street estimates, as the smaller regional lenders were hurt by continuing low interest rates.

For the third quarter, First Niagara posted net income of $57 million, or 19 cents a share, compared with $46 million, or 22 cents a share, a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, the bank earned 25 cents a share. Analysts, on average, had expected it to earn 26 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

In July, Buffalo, New York-based First Niagara, bought 195 branches from HSBC Holdings Plc but needs to divest 20-25 percent of those to clear anti-trust hurdles.

Banks are seeing their net interest margins -- the difference between what they earn on loans and pay out on deposits -- narrow as the Federal Reserve keeps interest rates low to stimulate the weak U.S. economy.

For July-September, TCF posted net income of $31.7 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with $36.9 million, or 26 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts, on average, had expected the bank to earn 21 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Wayzata, Minnesota-based TCF, which filed a lawsuit in October 2010 challenging a section of the Dodd-Frank Act that seeks to limit debit card interchange fees, saw its loan loss provisions fall 12 percent to $52.3 million.

Shares of First Niagara, which have fallen by a third since the start of the year, closed at $9.61 on Wednesday on Nasdaq.

TCF Financial shares, which have also shed about a third of their value, closed at $10.65 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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