National Penn Bancshares (NPBC) in Allentown, Pa., swung to a profit in the first quarter thanks to commercial loan growth and one-time factors that offset lower mortgage banking revenue.

The $8.6 billion-asset company earned $22.7 million in the quarter, compared with a loss of $17.4 million during the same period a year ago. A $65 million loss on debt extinguishment was responsible for the loss during the first quarter of 2013.

However, earnings per share of 16 cents were 1 cent lower than the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

National Penn had $5.4 billion of loans at March 31, up 2.4% from a year earlier. That total included $3.7 billion of commercial loans, up nearly 4%.

Net interest income rose 1%, to $62.3 million, largely driven by the commercial loan growth.

Net interest margin was 3.44%, down 5 basis points from the same period the previous year.

Noninterest income fell 16%, to $21.5 million. The decline was attributable to a 28% decrease in mortgage banking revenue, which fell to $716,000. National Penn also recorded a $477,000 loss on unconsolidated investments and lower earnings from service charges on deposit accounts.

The company cut its loan-loss provision by 13%, to $1.3 million, as loan quality continued to improve. Net chargeoffs totaled $4.4 million, down 2% from the same period a year ago.

National Penn's bid to buy the Baltimore-based First Mariner Bank in a bankruptcy auction ended earlier this week when the company withdrew its $19.1 million offer. But it is still eying future opportunities for growth, Chief Executive Scott Fainor says.

"We remain disciplined in our approach to mergers and acquisitions, while focused on continuing to build long-term shareholder value," Fainor said in a press release. "We are well-positioned to participate in the consolidation of the industry and will continue to evaluate opportunities consistent with our strategic objectives."

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