BankUnited (BKU) in Miami Lakes, Fla., reported higher quarterly earnings after selling some commercial loans.

The $15.8 billion-asset company's first-quarter results rose 15% from a year earlier, to $55.3 million, or 53 cents a share.

BankUnited reported a $19.3 million gain from loan sales and a $2.7 million gain tied to other real estate owned, with most of the gains tied to assets covered by loss-sharing agreements with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The company noted that its loss-sharing arrangement with the FDIC expires on May 21.

The company also said it originated $1.1 billion in new loans in the first quarter, with its New York City franchise contributing 37% of the total. Florida contributed a third of the new originations.

Net interest income rose 8%, to $166.5 million. The net interest margin compressed by 88 basis points, to 5.05%, because the new loans had lower yields than those in the company's FDIC-covered portfolios.

Noninterest income rose 50%, $30.2 million, largely because of the loan sales.

Noninterest expenses rose 24%, to $102.5 million, because of increased compensation and occupancy expenses tied to BankUnited's expansion efforts in New York.

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