Higher revenue and lower expenses lifted United Bankshares (UBSI) inn Charleston, W.Va., in the first quarter.

The $8.3 billion-asset company's earnings rose 3% from a year earlier, to $21.6 million, or 43 cents a share.

Net interest income fell 4% from a year earlier, to $68.3 million, because of lower yields. The net interest margin compressed 3 basis points from the first quarter of 2012, to 3.75%.

Noninterest income rose 12% from a year earlier, to $18.3 million, primarily because of proceeds from bank-owned life insurance policies and mortgage-related fees. Noninterest expense fell 4% from a year earlier, to $48.2 million. The company's efficiency ratio improved 20 basis points, to 53.15%.

United's loan portfolio rose 5% from the first quarter of 2012, to $6.5 billion. The loan-loss provision increased 25% from a year earlier, to $5.2 million, while chargeoffs rose 23%, to $4.9 million.

In January, United Bankshares said it would buy Virginia Commerce Bancorp (VCBI) for $491 million in stock. Virginia Commerce has $2.8 billion in assets and 28 branches in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. The deal would give United 143 branches in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania.

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