The bank's CEO said agricultural and commercial lending were up 9%.
Bremer Financial, St. Paul's flagship bank, reported its strongest second-quarter and first-half earnings since the 2008-09 recession.
CEO Pat Donovan said Wednesday the results aren't just because of lower 2012 charges for probable loan losses.
"I believe we are seeing stronger numbers because our core business is also growing," Donovan said. "In particular, we're seeing good momentum in the areas of commercial and agricultural lending, where our loans are up 9 percent compared to the [second quarter] of last year."
Bremer said that net income rose 35 percent in the second quarter to $24.5 million compared with second quarter 2011 and that net income rose 32 percent to $48.8 million during the first half of this year.
Bremer's provision for loan losses was $1.5 million during the first half of 2012 compared with $13.3 million during the first six months of 2011. The bank reversed a net $745,000 in probable loan losses in the second quarter, thanks to improving portfolio performance.
Net interest income rose 4 percent to $141.7 million during the first six months as non-interest income from fees and charges rose 18 percent to $54.2 million.
Loans and leases rose 7.2 percent over the last 12 months to $5.8 billion.
The consumer and business lender, which operates from 100 locations in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin, said its non-performing loans and other investments were $92.6 million at June 30 compared with $108.7 million at the end of 2011.
The company, owned by employees and the Otto Bremer Foundation, has $8.1 billion in assets.
Neal St. Anthony 612-673-7144