TCF Financial in Wayzata, Minn., reported sharply higher profits driven by gains on the sale of auto loans even as auto-related chargeoffs rose.

First-quarter earnings at the $21 billion-asset company increased 21% to $48 million. Earnings per share were 26 cents, or one penny higher than an estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Specialty lines of business boosted profits. Noninterest revenue jumped 12%, thanks to the increase in auto loan sales as well as growth in equipment-financing fees.

Meanwhile, net interest income rose 4% to $212 million. Total loans grew 2% to $18 billion. The net interest margin narrowed 13 basis points, to 4.37%.

The provision for loan losses jumped 47% to $19 million. The company attributed part of the increase to higher chargeoffs in its auto book.

Expenses held steady, rising just 1% to $228 million.

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