Citizens Financial in Providence, R.I., on Thursday reported a 45% jump in quarterly profits, lifted in part by improvements in its margin.

The $150 billion-asset company earned $313 million during the first quarter. Earnings per share were 61 cents, 10 cents higher than the average estimate compiled by FactSet Research Systems.

Citizens Bank branch.
Citizens' noninterest income jumped 15% to $379 million thanks to increases in capital markets and card fees. Bloomberg News

Net interest income rose 11% to just over $1 billion. The net interest margin increased 10 basis points to 2.96%. Total loans, meanwhile, grew 7% to $108 billion.

Noninterest income jumped 15% to $379 million thanks to increases in capital markets and card fees.

Expenses climbed 5%, to $854 million on higher salary and software costs.

Citizens has come under scrutiny recently for its retail banking incentives after The Wall Street Journal reported that several branch employees in multiple states falsified data about customer meetings to meet aggressive company goals.

In a press release announcing its first-quarter results, the company said its Citizens Checkup program continues to drive traffic into its branches.

“We continue to see strong momentum in our efforts to use the Citizens Checkup program to build and deepen relationships with our consumer [bank] customers,” the company said. “Consumer satisfaction remains high and program metrics continue to track well against expectations.”

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton

Kristin Broughton is a reporter for American Banker, where she writes about the business of national and regional banking.