CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Jefferson Bankshares reported profits of $5.6 million in the first quarter, an 8% jump from a year ago.

The higher earnings were attributed to a 9% increase in net interest income. The improved occurred because the higher interest rates in the quarter led to a larger increase in asset yields than in the cost of interest-bearing liabilities, the $1.9 billion-asset bank said.

Noninterest income declined 6%, primarily from a decrease in income from mortgage loan sales, the bank said. Return on equity was 10.56%, and return on assets 1.16%, both up slightly.

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