UPDATE 1-Huntington profit tops Street on better credit

Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:27am EDT

* Q2 EPS $0.17 vs $0.16 year earlier

* Q2 net charge-offs $84.2 mln vs $97.5 mln year ago

July 19 (Reuters) - Huntington Bancshares Inc posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit as the lender set aside less money to cover soured loans.

Net income for the second quarter rose to $152.7 million, or 17 cents per share, up from $145.9 million, or 16 cents per share.

Analysts had expected the company to earn 15 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net charge-offs fell to $84.2 million from $97.5 million, a year earlier.

"This quarter's financial results reflect relatively stable returns and net interest margin, improving efficiency and credit metrics," Chief Executive Stephen Steinour said in a statement.

The Columbus, Ohio-based bank said it expects net interest income to improve modestly for the rest of the year.

The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 4 cents a share.

Shares of the company, which has a market cap of $5.72 billion, closed at $6.60 on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.