A spike in lending helped profits rise 7.5% year over year in the first quarter at East West Bancorp in Pasadena, Calif.

The $33.1 billion-asset parent of East West Bank reported net income of $107.5 million for the three months. Earnings per share were 74 cents.

Net interest income after the provision for credit losses rose 8.7% to $250.8 million. Total loans, including loans held for sale, rose 10% to $23.8 billion. The net interest margin fell by 19 basis points to 3.32%.

Noninterest income fell 8.1% to $40.5 million, mainly because of lower net gains on the sale of loans and lower wealth management fee income. Those decreases were mitigated in part by the elimination of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. indemnification asset, resulting from the bank's termination of its loss-share agreements with the regulator.

Noninterest expense rose 14.5% to $146.6 million, mostly because of increased compensation and employee benefits and the amortization of tax credit and other investments.

During the quarter, "East West remained focused on growing our balance sheet and business profitably and prudently, while ensuring that we are taking the appropriate risk management measures to sustain the Company for future growth," Dominic Ng, its chairman and CEO, said in a press release Wednesday.

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