Put one post-hurricane quarter in the books for Income Investor selection AmSouth (NYSE:ASO). Judging by the numbers in the company's third-quarter earnings release, things look pretty good, though it will be a bit longer before investors have an idea of the full effect that the recent hurricanes will have on the company in the short term.

For the quarter, the company turned in diluted earnings per share growth of $0.51, for 6.3% growth over last year's $0.48 per share (excluding one-time charges). Granted, 6.3% growth isn't terribly impressive, but this company is navigating a very tough business environment. It posted a return on equity of 20% and a return on assets of 1.4%, both of which pale slightly against the two preceding quarters. AmSouth also remains a fairly lean operator, with an efficiency ratio of 52.2% (lower is better), a little bit worse than last quarter.

Net interest margin declined a bit, but that isn't unexpected with a tightening yield curve -- just askFifth Third (NASDAQ:FITB) -- and AmSouth's net interest margin should remain under pressure until the yield curve begins to steepen. AmSouth's loan portfolio also remained strong, as net charge-offs were only 0.19% of average loans during the quarter, a two-basis-point improvement over the preceding quarter. The only potential bad news here is that the number of charge-offs is more likely to go up than down from here, particularly since non-performing loans (i.e., bad debts) will likely rise in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The final piece of news is that AmSouth saw its deposits grow by more than 10% versus last year and 1% versus last quarter. The 1% growth last quarter isn't much, and the company will need to find ways to keep that growth going, but given the hurricane damage that customers suffered in its service areas, it's a slight plus that deposit growth wasn't negative.

The next few quarters and years will be interesting for AmSouth, Regions Financial (NYSE:RF), and other banks in the Gulf State region that will be dealing with demands for capital from residents and businesses that need to rebuild. With its solid balance sheet, AmSouth is well-positioned to weather the storm, and its presence in largely unscathed Florida will help boost deposit growth. While some bumps in the road appear inevitable for investors, AmSouth's ample 4% dividend provides some needed cushion in portfolios and offers some good reinvestment opportunities.

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Nathan Parmelee has no financial stake in any of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.