Regions Financial (NYSE:RF) today reported first-quarter earnings per share of $0.22, down slightly from $0.23 seen in the corresponding period of 2013. Total net income was down $16 million, or approximately 5%, to $311 million.

Regions Tower Source: Flickr / _Shreveport

This culprit was a 13% fall in the bank and financial services company's noninterest income -- largely fee-related -- from $501 million to $438 million. This drop was due to a 44% decline in mortgage income at Regions Financial, from $72 million to $40 million.

However, this reduction in revenue was partially offset by a $25 million decline in expenses, to $817 million. In addition, net interest income after provision for credit losses -- what it expects to lose on loans -- rose from $788 million to $814 million. Altogether, this resulted in pre-tax income from continuing falling by just $12 million to $435 million.

Regions Financial said its loan balance rose by $1.1 billion in the first quarter to stand at $75.6 billion, representing an annualized growth rate of nearly 6%. Consumer lending was down slightly, but its business lending saw nearly 10% annualized growth, from $46 billion to $47.1 billion.

"We are off to a solid start in 2014 and this quarter's results demonstrate that our focus on identifying and meeting more customer needs is generating steady and sustainable growth," Regions Financial Chairman, President, and CEO Grayson Hall said in a prepared statement. "We believe a strong relationship banking model is essential for sustainable revenue growth and we remain focused on controlling expenses and achieving positive operating leverage."

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