Improved credit quality and income from venture capital and private equity investments helped SVB Financial (SIVB) in Santa Clara, Calif., more than double its first-quarter profits.

The $27.8 billion-asset company earned $91.3 million in the first quarter, up from $40.9 million during the same period in 2013. Earnings per share of $1.95 were 39 cents higher than the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

The company's performance "was driven by healthy growth in the core bank, significant gains on our venture capital and private equity related investments and high credit quality," SVB President and Chief Executive Greg Becker said in a Thursday press release.

SVB's net interest income rose 20%, to $196.3 million and its loan portfolio climbed 22%, to $10.9 billion. However, the net interest margin fell 12 basis points, to 3.13%.

Noninterest income nearly tripled, to $310.2 million, due to gains from investment securities. SVB primarily holds investments in venture capital funds. The company includes gains from one of its clients and portfolio companies, security firm FireEye, in its quarterly results.

Noninterest expense climbed 16%, to $172 million, as employee compensation and benefits rose.

SVB cut its loan-loss provision by 91%, to $500,000. It recovered $21.2 million from previously charged-off loans, compared to $5.6 million in recoveries during the prior-year period.

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