Fee income lifted first-quarter profits at Wintrust Financial (WTFC) in Rosemont, Ill.

Earnings at the $17.1 billion-asset company rose 34.2% from a year earlier, to $29.4 million, as noninterest income rose 22.1% from a year earlier, to $57.4 million, primarily because of added fees from wealth management and mortgage banking.

The company's net interest income increased 3.8% year over year, to $130.7 million, but interest margin compressed by 14 basis points, to 3.41%, because of lower yields.

Wintrust's loan book grew 8.8% year over year, to $12.4 billion.

"Our pipelines for both internal growth and external growth remain very strong," Edward Wehmer, Wintrust's chief executive, said in a press release. "Growing franchise value, increasing profitability, maximizing capital usage and increasing shareholder value continue to be our main objectives.

Wintrust has 15 community bank subsidiaries throughout Illinois. In January, the company agreed to buy First Lansing Bancorp in Michigan for $39 million.

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