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UPDATE 1-KeyCorp's profit soars on higher interest rates

(Adds details on the quarter; shares)

Oct 19 (Reuters) - U.S. regional bank KeyCorp reported quarterly profit that more than doubled as it reaps the benefit of its acquisition of First Niagara Financial Group and higher interest rates.

After struggling for years with low interest rates, lenders are getting some relief from the U.S. Federal Reserve's recent rates hikes.

Net interest income rose 22 percent to $962 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30,

The lender reported 11.7 percent jump in average loans to $86.81 billion, boosted by the First Niagara acquisition.

Cleveland-based KeyCorp said net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $350 million in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 from $166 million a year earlier.

Earnings per share rose to 32 cents from 17 cents.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of 35 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It was not immediately clear if the numbers were comparable.

Shares of KeyCorp were unchanged in premarket trading. (Reporting by Roopal Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva)