Despite strong loan growth, falling noninterest income forced two Midwest institutions to post lower first-quarter earnings.

UMB Financial Corp., Kansas City, Mo., said its earnings fell 3.7% to $12.9 million. Declines in fee income combined with a 3.4% rise in noninterest expense and a higher income tax rate hurt the bottom line.

Noninterest income in last year's first quarter was aided by a pretax gain of $3 million on the company's investment portfolio. For the current period, income from this source amounted to $417,000.

UMB also suffered from a lower volume of earning assets. Despite an 8.3% increase in net loans for the period, to $2.3 billion, total earning assets plunged 7.9% from a year earlier.

Net interest income swelled 6.4%, to $48.1 million. Partly offsetting the rise was a 142.4% jump in loan-loss provisions, to $926,000.

At Standard Federal Bank in Troy, Mich., falling mortgage interest rates caused a $4.4 million decline in noninterest income and a 5.2% slide in first-quarter earnings, to $27.3 million.

The thrift said its loan portfolio grew 18.4% from a year earlier, to $8.8 billion. Over the same period, the inventory of mortgage-backed securities grew to nearly $2.5 billion, a 16.5% jump.

A year earlier the company originated more than $1.5 billion mortgage loans, and sold $1.2 billion of them. In the 1995 quarter originations dropped to $921.4 million, while securitizations and sales fell to $385.3 million.

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