Commerce Bancshares in Kansas City, Mo., said Monday that first-quarter profits fell 5% from a year earlier, to $61.1 million, as net interest income fell and expenses rose.

Earnings per share also fell 5%, to 61 cents, but still beat by 4 cents the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Though total loans increased nearly 5%, to $11.7 billion, the $24 billion-asset Commerce said that net interest income fell 4.6% from a year earlier, to $146.1 million, due to declining loan yields.

Meanwhile, noninterest expenses rose 1%, to $163.7 million, as salary and employee-benefits costs increased by $4 million. Higher costs for data processing and software, marketing, equipment and deposit insurance also contributed to the uptick in expenses.

Noninterest income, however, increased by 3.7%, to $106.4 million, mostly on an 11% surge in trust fees. Gains in bank card transaction fees and loan fees and sales also fueled the growth.

Net chargeoffs dropped by almost one-quarter, to $7.4 million, as consumer loan net chargeoffs declined to 0.41% of average consumer loans versus 0.66% the year before.

Commerce's shares were trading at $42.38 late Monday, up 1.2% from Friday's close.

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