East West Bancorp (EWBC) in Pasadena, Calif., reported improved quarterly results after credit costs declined.

The $24.7 billion-asset company's earnings rose 5% from a year earlier, to $75.8 million. Net interest income was relatively flat from the fourth quarter of 2012, at $198.2 million. The net interest margin compressed by 43 basis points from a year earlier, to 3.41%.

The company posted a noninterest loss of $36.6 million, compared to an $18.5 million loss a year earlier. The company said the higher loss was because of "changes in the net reduction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. indemnification asset and FDIC receivable."

Noninterest expense rose 18% from a year earlier, to $124.4 million, because of higher legal expenses and costs from salaries and employee benefits. The increase was also due to a rise in the amortization of investments in affordable-housing partnerships and other investments.

East West slashed its loan-loss provision by 54% from the fourth quarter of 2012, to $6.3 million. Net chargeoffs rose 186% from a year earlier, to $100,000.

The company completed its acquisition of MetroCorp Bancshares in Houston earlier this month.

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