Customers Bancorp (CUBI) in Wyomissing, Pa., disclosed unexpectedly high sequential loan growth in the first quarter.

The company said in a regulatory filing Tuesday that it has $4.1 billion in loans at March 31, up 28% from Dec. 31. Roughly 30% of the growth came from purchases of five- and seven-year adjustable-rate mortgages for one- to four-person homes. Customers' loan originations also rose by roughly 20% from a quarter earlier, with most of the growth tied to multifamily properties.

The growth in Customers' multifamily loan portfolio was likely driven in part by its strong broker relationships in New York, Sandler O'Neill analysts Frank Schiraldi and Robert Haderer wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. Customers' chairman and chief executive, Jay Sidhu, previously ran Sovereign Bancorp in Wyomissing, Pa., which had a large stake in New York commercial broker Meridian Capital Group. Customers, which had $4.2 billion is assets at Dec. 31, entered the New York market last year.

Most of Customers' loan growth came late in the quarter because its average loan balance was $3.4 billion during the period, Schiraldi and Haderer wrote.

Sandler O'Neill increased its earnings estimates to reflect Customers' loan growth, boosting its 2014 projection by 11 cents, to $1.66 a share. The firm also increased its estimates for 2015 by 5 cents, to $1.90 a share.

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