Fulton Financial in Lancaster, Pa., reported higher quarterly profit that reflected strong growth in its mortgage business.

The $19 billion-asset company said in a press release Tuesday that its first-quarter net income rose 13.4% from a year earlier to $43.4 million. Earnings per share of 25 cents were 2 cents higher than the average estimate of analysts compiled by FactSet Research Systems.

Philip Wenger, chairman, president and CEO of Fulton Financial
Fulton Financial posted higher earnings that reflected continued momentum from last year, said Philip Wenger, the company’s chairman, president and CEO.

Net interest income, including the loan-loss provision, rose 4.1% to $132.8 million. Total loans increased 7.9% to $14.96 billion and the net interest margin widened by 3 basis points to 3.26%.

Residential mortgages increased 20.9%, and commercial mortgages rose 10.1%. Home equity lines were the only loan segment that declined, by about 4%.

Noninterest income, excluding securities gains, increased 8% to $45.6 million largely because of mortgage banking income and trust services fees.

Noninterest expenses rose 1.5% to $122.3 million, reflecting state tax increases and the amortization of community development investments.

"We had a very good first quarter, building off the momentum we saw in our business in 2016,” Philip Wenger, Fulton’s chairman, president and CEO, said in the release. “With increased customer confidence and business activity, we remain optimistic about our growth prospects for 2017."

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