Robust consumer loan growth help propel first quarter core earnings at Signet Banking Corp.'s core bank by 48% to $26.7 million, although consolidated earnings - which include a recently spun-off credit card subsidiary - were down 21%.

Earnings per share of the core bank, which does not include the Capital One Financial Corp. credit card subsidiary, were 45 cents, one cent above consensus estimates. Consolidated earnings per share, which includes Signet's 89% interest in Capital One for two months prior to the Feb. 28 spinoff, were 71 cents.

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