Comerica in Dallas reported higher quarterly profits as it reaped the benefit from slashing energy loans and improving efficiency.

The $73 billion-asset company earned $202 million in the first quarter, compared with $60 million a year earlier. Earnings per share were $1.11, beating a consensus estimate of 95 cents.

Comerica Bank
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Total loans declined 1% year over year at Comerica, reflecting its moves to slash energy loans to shore up credit quality. Bloomberg News

Improvements in credit quality drove the quarterly results. The provision for loan losses was $16 million, compared with $148 million a year earlier, thanks to a decline in troubled oil and gas credits.

Net interest income rose 5% to $470 million. The net interest margin increased 5 basis points to 2.86%. Total loans declined 1%, mostly from lower mortgage and energy loan balances.

Noninterest income jumped 11% to $271 million, due in part to higher fee income from cards.

Expenses were flat at $457 million as higher outside processing fees offset lower salary expenses. The efficiency ratio declined to 61.63%, compared with 65.99% a year earlier.

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