First-quarter profit improved at Commerce Bancshares in Kansas City, Mo., as commercial-and-industrial loans increased.

Net income at the $24.5 billion-asset company rose 7% to $63.1 million year over year. Earnings per share rose 12% to 65 cents.

Total loans rose 8% to $12.7 billion on growth in C&I commercial real estate and consumer lending. Commerce's biggest loan category, C&I, rose 9% to $4.6 billion.

Net interest income after the loan-loss provision rose 9% to $154 million. Noninterest income rose 12% to $119 million on higher fees from deposit charges, bank cards and trust services. Revenue rose 12% to $283 million.

Noninterest expense rose 8.3% to $177 million on higher salaries and data processing expenses. The efficiency ratio improved by 203 basis points to 62.62%.

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