Washington Trust Bancorp (WASH) in Westerly, R.I., reported a rise in quarterly profit after it sold its merchant-processing business.

The $3.2 billion-asset company's first-quarter earnings rose 26% from a year earlier, to $9.3 million, or 55 cents a share.

Net interest income rose 6%, to $23.8 million. The loan portfolio increased 9%, to $2.5 billion. Its net interest margin expanded by 2 basis points, to 3.34%.

Washington's noninterest income climbed 22%, to $19.4 million. The company sold its merchant-processing services business to payment processing firm Vantiv in the first quarter, netting a $6.3 billion gain.

Noninterest expenses rose 21%, to $29.3 million. The increase was largely because of $6.3 million in debt prepayment penalties after the company prepaid $99.3 million of Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston advances in the first quarter.

Washington cut its loan-loss provision in half, to $300,000. Net chargeoffs swelled 233%, to $1.1 million, though the increase was largely because of a single $853,000 commercial mortgage loan chargeoff.

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