Sovran Financial Corp. yesterday reported that second-quarter profits rose 13.2 percent over the year-previous period, from $19.7 million ($1.18 a share) to $22.3 million ($1.27).

For the first six months of the year, Sovran said earnings were up 14.8 percent, to $43.5 million ($2.48) from $37.9 million ($2.27) for the first half of 1984.

Sovran Chairman C. A. Cutchins III attributed the rise in quarterly profits to increased net interest income and other noninterest income. Total average loans increased 24.6 percent for this quarter and 24 percent for this half from the same periods last year, according to the company.

Norfolk-based Sovran, the largest banking operation in Virginia, had total assets of $8.7 billion on June 30, which was 17.1 percent higher than on the same date last year. Sovran has entered into agreements in principle to merge with two banks, Virginia Southern Bank, with assets of $48 million, and D.C. National Bancorp, with assets of $366 million.

Sovran also declared a 3-for-2 stock split, payable Aug. 23 to stockholders of record Aug. 1. The company also declared a quarterly dividend of 32 cents on the split shares, payable Oct. 1 to shareholders of record Aug. 30. The new rate is equivalent to 48 cents on current shares, on which the company has been paying 42 cents quarterly. Suburban Bancorp announced a 61 percent increase in profits for its second quarter this year. The company earned $10.1 million ($1.88 a share), compared with $6.3 million ($1.31) for the 1984 second quarter. For the first half of this year, the Bethesda-based bank-holding company reported a profit growth of 48.5 percent, with income rising to $18.2 million ($3.38) from $12.2 million ($2.56) for the first half of 1984.

Suburban Bancorp Chairman Robert F. Tardio attributed the growth to continued strength in earning assets, strong net interest margins and gains from securities and trading transactions. Total assets were $3.1 billion, with total deposits of $2.3 billion as of June 30, a growth of 20.9 percent in assets and 23.2 percent in deposits from last year. Total loans were $1.7 billion, an increase of $447.5 million, or 35 percent.

*MCI Communications Corp. reported second-quarter profits of $34.3 million (15 cents per share) on revenue of $601.2 million, compared with $33 million (14 cents per share) on revenue of $484.8 million for the same quarter last year. For the first six months of 1985, MCI earned $74.7 million (32 cents) on revenue of $1.17 billion, up from income of $38.9 million (17 cents) on revenue of $959.5 million for the first six months of 1984.

Results for the quarter ended June 30 included a cash payment of $30 million from the settlement of an antitrust litigation-related agreement with Bell Atlantic. Results for the first quarter ended March 31 included an antitrust settlement payment from USWest and a $50.5 million loss from the decline in value of some company equipment necessary prior to the implementation of "equal access." The equal access process eliminates the lengthy codes consumers previously had to dial to use long-distance competitors of American Telephone & Telegraph Co.

*Gannett Co., based in Rosslyn, reported second-quarter earnings of $71.8 million (90 cents a share) on revenue of $557 million, up from $59.7 million (75 cents) on revenue of $491.7 million for the same quarter last year. In the past six months, Gannett earned $113.1 million ($1.41) on revenue of $1.04 billion, compared with a profit of $94.5 million ($1.18) on revenue of $917 million for the same period last year.

The company said advertising lineage increased 6 percent, broadcast revenue increased 17 percent and outdoor advertising rose 4 percent from the second quarter a year ago. Gannett also said advertising revenue for its 3-year-old national newspaper, USA Today, rose 106 percent from the first half of 1984, up from 6.8 pages of paid advertising per issue to 12.5 pages of paid advertising for the first half of this year.

Gannett, a diversified communications company, is the nation's largest newspaper chain.

*Alexandria-based Atlantic Research Corp. said second-quarter earnings were up 26 percent, to $3.2 million (49 cents a share), from last year's second-quarter earnings of $2.5 million (39 cents). Sales increased to $47.3 million, up 13 percent from $41.7 million in the year-previous quarter. Profits per share have been adjusted for the 3-for-2 stock split that took place on June 21.

For the first six months, net income totaled $6.8 million ($1.07), including a first-quarter gain of $1.1 million from the sale of its subsidiary, Tri-Seal International in Westchester County, N.Y.. Profits for the 1984 first half were $4.6 million (73 cents). Sales for the first six months of this year were $93 million, up from $79.1 million last year.