Second-quarter earnings at Southcoast Financial Corp. increased 15 percent from a year ago after factoring out a large onetime gain.

The Mount Pleasant-based bank owner's net income was $709,000 compared to $616,000 before a $6.42 million tax benefit that skewed profits higher for the April-June period of 2013.

For the first six months of this year, Southcoast Community Bank's parent company earned $1.35 million. It earned $8 million in the first six months of 2013, or $1.62 million before the onetime tax gain.

The company said its results "were influenced by a growth in loan interest income, reduced funding costs and reductions in noninterest expenses."

Expenses are down about 4 percent this year to $6.25 million, largely because of reductions in salaries and benefits, lower premium payments to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and a drop in foreclosure-related costs.

Repossessed real estate at Southcoast accounted for 2.76 percent of all assets as of June 30, down from 3.53 percent a year earlier.

"The value of our franchise continues to improve as our performance improves," CEO L. Wayne Pearson said in a statement. "We are proud of our accomplishments as they reflect the loyalty of our customers and the dedication of our employees."

Southcoast has nine branches.

The bank filed paperwork earlier this year with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to open its first office in downtown Charleston, at 297-299 East Bay St. An opening date has not been announced.