Profit fell slightly at Huntington Bancshares (HBAN) on fewer gains from loan sales last quarter.

The Columbus, Ohio, company said Wednesday that it earned $152 million in the first quarter, down 1% from a year earlier. Per-share profit of 17 cents exceeded by 1 cent the expectations of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Noninterest income dipped 12%, to $252.2 million, largely because of a $24 million decline, to $2.6 million, in gains from the sale of loans. Huntington had benefited from a large securitization of auto loans in the first quarter of 2012.

Huntington also recorded an 18% decline in miscellaneous noninterest income, to $33.4 million, reflecting the bank's acquisition of the failed Fidelity Bank in Dearborn, Mich., which had allowed Huntington to record a bargain-purchase gain in the first quarter of 2012.

Huntington's net interest income rose 2%, to $430.1 million, as total interest-earning assets rose by $1.2 billion and its net interest margin widened by 2 basis points, to 3.42%.

Huntington, which has assets of $56 billion, reported significant improvement in credit quality since the first quarter of 2012. Its provision for credit losses fell 14%, to $29.6 million, and net chargeoffs declined 38%, to $51.7  million. Total nonperforming loans and leases fell 18%, to $380.3 million.

Huntington also announced that it would raise its dividend to 5 cents a share, a 1-cent increase, and repurchase up to $227 million in common stock, a 25% increase over its last repurchase program.

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