Associated Banc-Corp reported first-quarter profit of $56.3 million, or 35 cents per diluted share, up 32 percent from $42.5 million, or 27 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2016.
The Green Bay-based company attributed the increase to increased commercial real estate and residential mortgage loan growth. Average loans were $20.1 billion, up 6 percent from $18.9 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Commercial real estate lending was up 12 percent year-over-year, while consumer lending was up 7 percent.
Net interest income was $180 million, up 5 percent year-over-year. Net interest margin increased from 2.81 percent in the year-ago quarter to 2.84 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
“The quarter’s margin expansion, coupled with higher residential mortgage and steady commercial real estate loan growth, contributed to a 30 percent year-over-year increase in earnings per common share,” said Philip Flynn, president and chief executive officer.
Noninterest income was $80 million, down 4 percent from the year-ago quarter, because of lower investment gains.
Associated Banc-Corp reduced its provision for credit losses to $9 million, down 55 percent from the first quarter of 2015. But it upped its allowance for loan losses to $283 million, up from $278 million in the first quarter of 2015.
“We continued to show progress across our fee businesses while holding expenses flat,” Flynn said. “Year-over-year results were also supported by an improving credit environment. We are in a good place – strongly positioned and fully committed to a path of continued disciplined growth. We look forward to delivering against our full-year guidance.”
At the end of the first quarter, Associated Banc-Corp had $29.1 billion in total assets, up from $28.2 billion in the first quarter of 2016. Its liabilities as of March 31 totaled $26 billion, up from $25.2 billion at the end of the first quarter of 2015.
Associated Banc-Corp operates more than 200 Associated Bank branches in Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. It also has commercial financial services in Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio and Texas.