As earnings surged at larger custody banks, Northern Trust Corp. reported Tuesday that its earnings declined in the first quarter because of higher expenses and a difficult interest rate environment.

The Chicago-based company reported that profits declined 3% to $157.2 million, or 64 cents a share. Revenue rose 0.4% to $907.6 million. Analysts had expected earnings of 71 cents per share on revenue of $914 million.

Northern Trust [NTRS] attributed the decline in profits to a difficult interest rate environment. Larger competitors State Street Corp. [STT] and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. [BK] reported earnings rose 4% and 74% respectively.

Northern Trust achieved better results in the first quarter of last year when it repaid $1.5 billion to the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Frederick H. Waddell, Northern Trust’s president and chief executive officer, said in a press release that he remained optimistic. He said he expects the economy will continues to recovery and the company’s client base will continue to increase.

The company reported assets under custody increasing 31% and assets under management rose 24% from a year earlier.

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