Bank of Hawaii Corp. in Honolulu said Monday that its first-quarter earnings rose 4.4% from a year earlier, to $42.4 million.

Earnings improved largely because the $13 billion-asset company reduced its loan-loss provision by 77% from a year earlier, to $4.7 million. Net chargeoffs fell 74%, to $4.7 million.

Total loans fell 5%, to $5.3 million. Still, growth in commercial loans partly offset declines in consumer loans, Bank of Hawaii said. Peter Ho, the chairman, president and chief executive, said in a press release that he expects the aftermath from Japan's earthquakes and tsunami to affect Hawaii's economy "somewhat in the short term."

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