Profits at Valley National Bancorp in Wayne, N.J., rose 29% year over year to $44 million in the first quarter, as an increase in commercial real estate loans went a long way toward offsetting a decline in residential mortgages.

Earnings per share were 17 cents, which met the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by FactSet Research Systems.

Valley National benefited from strong CRE loan growth and a low cost of funds, Chairman and CEO Gerald Lipkin said in discussing first-quarter results.

“Our net income for the first quarter continued to benefit from strong loan growth mainly within the commercial real estate portfolio and our ability to maintain a low overall cost of funds,” Chairman and CEO Gerald Lipkin said in a news release Wednesday.

Net interest income at the $23 billion-asset bank rose almost 10% to $162.5 million. The net interest margin expanded 6 basis points to 3.10%. Meanwhile, CRE loans increased 18% to $9.9 billion, and residential mortgage loans fell by 11% to $2.7 billion.

The bank expanded its overall loan portfolio by 8% to $17.4 billion, while it more than tripled its loan-loss provision to $2.4 million. The amount of loans it charged off rose 35% to $3.4 million.

Noninterest income rose by nearly 17% to $25 million primarily because of gains on loan sales and income tied to bank-owned life insurance policies.

Noninterest expenses rose by 2% to $121 million.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.