Texas-headquartered regional lender, Comerica,
has beaten analyst forecasts with a first quarter net profit of
$103m, compared with a loss of $71m in the corresponding period
last year.

But the retail banking unit of Comerica
remained in the red and lost $2m for the three months to 31 March,
compared with a loss of $7m in the year-ago period.

At group level, Comerica was boosted by a fall
in provisions for loan losses of 72% to $49m in the first

Although Comerica’s net interest margin
improved by 7 basis points year-on-year to 3.25%, net interest
income declined 4% to $395m from last year.

Total assets declined by 3.7% year-on-year to

Subject to regulatory and shareholder
approval, Comerica is aiming to close the acquisition of Sterling
Bancshares in the second quarter.

In January, Comerica announced its proposed
acquisition of Houston-headquartered Sterling in a deal worth
around $1.03bn.

The acquisition will augment Comerica’s
444-strong branch network by a further 57 outlets; in addition, the
deal adds about $3bn in loans and
$4bn in deposits.