Expenses weighed down Old Line Bancshares (OLBK) in the first quarter.

Earnings at the $869 million-asset company in Bowie, Md., fell 27.8% from a year earlier, to $1.3 million, or 19 cents per share.

Noninterest expense rose 21% from the first quarter of 2012, to $6.9 million, primarily because of personnel costs related to the opening of a new loan office and expenses tied to the company's pending purchase of WSB Holdings, the Bowie-based parent of Washington Savings Bank.

Net interest income rose 1% year over year, to $7.8 million; the net interest margin compressed 15 basis points, to 4.36%.

Noninterest income increased 17% from a year earlier, to $1 million, primarily because of gains on sales of securities and income from fees.

The company's loan portfolio grew 10.7% year over year, to $612 million.

"We continue to generate strong organic loan growth while maintaining above average margins," James Cornelsen, Old Line's chief executive said in a press release. "We have also added talent to sustain the balance sheet growth, expand fee income opportunities and strengthen our infrastructure to support continual growth and the completion of the WSB merger."

Old Line's purchase of WSB is expected to add $356 million in assets and five branches to Old Line, which currently has 19 branches in five counties. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

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