Shares of City National (CYN) rose slightly Friday after the Los Angeles company reported strong first-quarter loan growth and good expense management.

The parent of City National Bank reported late Thursday that first-quarter earnings rose 11%, to $51.5, million or 90 cents a share, before paying preferred dividends. The bank missed analysts' consensus estimate by two cents a share according to Bloomberg.

Shares, which have been on a tear since mid-November, rose 56 cents, or 1%, to $54.92 a share midday Friday.

The key driver of growth was a 19% jump in first-quarter loans and leases to a record $15.2 billion, which excluded loans covered by City National's acquisitions-related loss-share agreements with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Commercial loans rose 29% in the quarter, and the bank attributed the increase to "organic loan growth," as well as the acquisition of First American Equipment Finance in the second quarter of 2012.

 "A little over half of [the growth] came from C&I lending and our specialty banking unit led the way on that," Russell Goldsmith, City National's chairman and chief executive, said in a conference call.  "About half the growth in new loans came from new clients, which we're particularly pleased to see.

City National's noninterest income rose 24%, to $93.5 million from a year earlier, but fell 6% from the fourth quarter. The increase was due largely to the acquisition in the third quarter of 2012 of Rochdale Investment Management and higher cash management income.

The bank's noninterest expense rose 5% to $211.3 million from a year ago. Excluding the Rochdale and First American Acquisitions, noninterest expense fell 2% from a year earlier.

Net interest income was flat at $206.3 million from a year earlier. Deposit balances rose 11%, to $22.4, billion from a year ago.

City National, with $28.3 billion in assets, has 78 offices nationwide. It is expanding in New York, where the bank currently has two existing offices that cater to private clients and theater productions (City National banks more than half of the plays on Broadway), and it plans to add two ground-floor branches this year, one near Times Square and another on Park Avenue.

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