TCF Financial Corp. in Wayzata, Minn., which last year withdrew a lawsuit challenging a law limiting interchange fees, posted an off quarter it attributed to decreases in fee income.

The $19 billion-asset company's fourth-quarter earnings fell 51% from a year earlier, to $16.4 million. At 10 cents a share, the results were 4 cents below the average analysts' estimate, according to Thomson Reuters. Full-year 2011 earnings fell 28% from a year earlier, to $109.4 million.

William A. Cooper, TCF chairman and chief executive, said in a Jan. 24 press release the company's bottom line was hurt by the Durbin Amendment, start-up costs tied to specialty finance and the slow economy. Cooper said that the company would implement new revenue-producing and expense cutting strategies.

Earlier this month, TCF said that its inventory financing arm would expand its marine lending to include floor plan financing for U.S. and Canadian manufacturers and dealers that produce and sell water sports products. The company's average loans and leases for 2011 fell 1% from a year earlier, to $14.5 billion.

TCF's fourth-quarter card revenues fell almost 51% from a year earlier, to $13.6 million. The company said its average interchange rate per transaction fell slightly more than 50% because of new limits on debit card interchange fees that took effect Oct. 1.

The company's fourth-quarter revenue slipped 14% from a year earlier, to $271.7 million. TCF said banking fees and service charges fell 17% from the fourth quarter of 2010, to $51 million, caused by higher levels of checking account attrition, some of which related to new fees and service charges introduced in the fourth quarter.

Cooper said that although nonperforming assets fell for the fifth straight quarter, credit quality still remained a challenge. The company's loan-loss provision decreased 24% from a year earlier, to $59.2 million.

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