SunTrust Banks (STI) in Atlanta said its quarterly profit rose 16% as it made more commercial loans.

The $180 billion-asset company's first-quarter earnings rose 16% from a year earlier, to $393 million, or 73 cents a share, from a year ago. The average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg was 66 cents.

Commercial and industrial loans rose 8%, to $59 billion. Commercial real estate lending increased 40%, to $6 billion, mirroring an industrywide trend.

"Loan growth looked solid this quarter," Aleem Gillani, chief financial officer, said during a Monday morning conference call.

SunTrust also reported growth in several business lines, including credit cards, indirect auto lending, wealth management and investment banking.

Paul Davis is the community banking editor at American Banker.

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