United Bankshares' (UBSI) earnings increased during the first quarter, with support from the completion of its Virginia Commerce Bancorp acquisition and sale of one of its own branches.

United, an $11.9 billion-asset financial institution based in Charleston, W. Va., reported earnings of $30.1 million in the first quarter, compared to $21.6 million a year earlier. Earnings per share of 48 cents for the first quarter beat analyst's estimates by five cents.

Noninterest income during the quarter totaled $26.5 million, up $8.2 million from the same quarter a year earlier. This uptick was aided by United's sale of a branch, which resulted in a pre-tax gain of $9 million.

Tax-equivalent net interest income was up 27% on a yearly basis to $86.9 million because United's overall average earning assets increased as part of the Virginia Commerce transaction.

The company's net interest margin decreased 5 basis points to 3.7% from a year earlier.

Loan loss provisions were $4.7 million for the quarter, and net chargeoffs $4.5 million.

United's noninterest expenses were up 27% from last year to $61.2 million. The Virginia Commerce acquisition led to increases from a year earlier in employee compensation, net occupancy expenses, data processing fees and merger expenses.

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