Buoyed by strong loan and deposit growth, Signature Bank (SBNY) in New York said Tuesday that its first-quarter profits climbed 30% from the same period last year, to $66 million.

The bank's earnings per share increased 29%, to $1.37, or 3 cents higher than the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Signature's net interest income climbed 26%, to $186.5 million, propelled by growth in loans and deposits. The company's average loans reached $13.8 billion, up 37% from the prior-year period, as Signature expanded commercial real estate and multi-family lending. Specialty financing also contributed to the increase. Meanwhile, the company's deposits rose 24%, to $18.3 billion. Signature's net interest margin dipped 4 basis points, to 3.39%.

Noninterest income fell 18%, to $7.2 million. The decrease was driven by a $1.8 million decline in net gains on loan sales.

Noninterest expenses totaled $70 million, up 19% from the same period a year ago. Signature attributed the bulk of the increase to its new hires in its private client banking and asset-based lending units.

Improved credit quality allowed Signature to chop its loan-loss provision by 18%, to $8.2 million. The company recovered $244,000 of previously charged-off loans, compared to $4.5 million in net charge-offs during the same period a year ago.

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