Pulaski Financial Corp. in St. Louis said Tuesday that profits in its fiscal-year first quarter fell 3% from a year earlier, to $3 million, due to a slowdown in mortgage activity.

The $1.3 billion-asset company said that net interest income decreased almost 10% from a year earlier, to $12.1 million, due to a decline in the average balance of mortgage loans held for sale. Noninterest income decreased by more than 5% from a year earlier to $3.4 million due to lower mortgage revenues. Mortgage loans originated for sale totaled $371 million, a roughly 38% drop from a year earlier but an almost 5% increase from the previous quarter.

Despite the weaker-than-usual mortgage activity, Pulaski performed better than analysts were expecting. Its earnings per share of 23 cents beat consensus estimates by a nickel, according to Thomson Reuters.

Nonperforming assets decreased for the fourth consecutive quarter, declining by 3% from the previous quarter to $69.9 million. The provision for loan loss was $3 million, down 30% from a year earlier.

Gary Douglass, president and chief executive, said in a news release that the company will focus on growing revenues in commercial and industrial lending for the rest of the fiscal year.

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