Commerce earnings climb 5.4 percent with strong loan demand

04/10/2014 9:40 AM

04/10/2014 5:04 PM

Commerce Bancshares Inc. on Thursday reported a 5.4 percent increase in first-quarter earnings.

The $64.3 million profit, equal to 67 cents a share, compares with $61 million, or 63 cents a share, a year ago.

Kansas City-based Commerce said borrowers’ demand for loans “remained strong” during January, February and March, with loans increasing at more than a 10 percent pace.

Most of the loan growth came in auto lending and commercial and industrial loans.

Commerce shares, however, closed at $43.07, down $2.56, or 5.6 percent, following the morning

earnings announcement

.

Loans at the end of March totaled $11.2 billion, compared with $9.98 billion a year earlier. Securities the banking company owns totaled $9.26 billion, down from $9.71 billion at the end of March last year.

Assets reached $22.8 billion, with the quarter’s profit equaling a 1.16 percent return on average assets held during the quarter.

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