Hancock Holding in Gulfport, Miss., reported higher quarterly profit that reflected a lower tax rate and loan growth.

The $27.3 billion-asset company said in a press release Tuesday that its first-quarter earnings rose by 47.9% from a year earlier to $72.5 million, or 83 cents a share. Comparisons from a year earlier were skewed by the company’s recent sale of a consumer finance unit, Harrison Finance.

Net interest income increased by 13.2% to $205.6 million. Total loans rose by 4.9% to $19.1 billion, though the company lost $95 million loss in loans tied to selling Harrison Finance. The net interest margin remained unchanged at 3.37%.

Total deposits rose by 12.9% to $22.5 billion.

Hancock Holding CEO John Hairston.
Hancock Holding, led by CEO John Hairston, had a number of one-time items tied to the sale of a consumer finance business.

The size of the company’s energy portfolio changed very little from Dec. 31, totaling $1.1 billion. Energy loans made up 5.5% of total loans at March 31.

Hancock said it had absorbed about 85% of the $95 million in expected energy-related net charge-offs from the current cycle.

The loan-loss provision decreased by 23% to $12.3 million.

Noninterest income rose by 4.3% to $66.3 million, including a $1.1 million loss on the sale of the consumer finance unit.

Noninterest expense rose by 4.4% to $170.8 million, which included $5.9 of nonoperating expenses tied to selling Harrison Finance, the pending acquisition of Capital One’s trust and asset management business, a brand consolidation project and bonuses.

Hancock's efficiency ratio fell to 57.51% from 61.16% a year earlier.

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