BB&T Corp.'s (BBT) third-quarter income rose 74% from a year earlier, as loan loss provisions fell. The bank holding company earned $366 million, or 52 cents a share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 up from $210 million, or 30 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue for the quarter fell to $2.14 billion from about $2.18 billion a year earlier. The provision for loan losses for the quarter declined by $500 million, or 67%, due to improving credit quality, according to BB&T. Chairman and Chief Executive Kelly King said it was the bank's strongest quarterly results in three years and interest income rose 8% to $1.5 billion. "The increase was driven by significantly improved credit quality and improved net interest income," King said. "Average deposits increased 32% on an annualized basis compared to the second quarter, and noninterest-bearing deposits and interest checking increased 22% and 14%, respectively." Third-quarter noninterest income fell nearly 38% to $690 million from $1.11 billion a year ago. Mortgage banking income dropped by one-third to $123 million from $184 million, mostly due to a $58 million decrease in residential mortgage production income on lower volumes and pricing. King said BB&T lowered nonperforming assets by $900 million the past two quarters to the lowest level since early 2009. The bank ended the third quarter with about $2.75 billion of total loans held for sale a 28% increase from $3.83 billion a year earlier, yet up from $1.97 billion at the end of the second quarter. At the end of 2010, BB&T completed its strategy to de-risk its investment securities portfolio and sold about $6.1 billion of agency mortgage-backed securities and replaced them with shorter duration and floating rate securities.  BB&T also sold about $400 million of nonagency MBS to reduce the potential for future credit losses. Write to Jason Philyaw.