Sandy Spring Bancorp, in Olney, Md., reported an increase in quarterly profit on higher mortgage revenue.

The $4.4 billion-asset company's first-quarter earnings rose 3% from a year earlier, to $11.2 million. Earnings per share of 45 cents topped the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg by 4 cents.

"We are off to a solid start to the year, as higher net interest income from a growing loan portfolio, together with growth in income from wealth management and mortgage banking drove first quarter operating results," Daniel Schrider, Sandy Spring's president and chief executive, said in a press release Thursday.

Sandy Spring's net interest income increased 6%, to $33.4 million, a 6% increase. Total loans rose 12%, to $3.2 billion. The net interest margin compressed by 3 basis point, to 3.44%.

Noninterest income increased 17%, to $13.2 million, up 17% year-over-year. Sandy Spring generated $1.2 million in income from mortgage banking, compared to $316,000 a year earlier.

Noninterest expenses increased 6%, to $29.2 million, due to higher salaries and benefits.

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