CHERRY HILL, N.J. — Citing rapid growth in low-cost core deposits, Commerce Bancorp reported double-digit increases in loans and fee income for the first quarter and said those gains fueled a strong earnings gain.

Net income for $8.9 billion-asset Commerce rose 28% in the quarter against the year-earlier period, to $23.4 million. It credited a 24% rise in fee income, to $44.1 million, and a 26% jump in net interest income. Loans increased 20%, to $3.7 billion, and deposits 33%, to $8.1 billion.

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