MONTREAL - Laurentian Bank Financial Group beat expectations as it reported a first-quarter profit rose compared with a year ago even as its provision for credit losses edged higher.

The Montreal-based bank says it earned $44.8 million or 96 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from a profit of $32.2 million or 68 cents per diluted share a year ago.

Revenue totalled $247.4 million, up from $238.7 million in the year earlier quarter.

The provision for credit losses totalled $16.8 million for the quarter up from $14.9 million a year earlier, due to a rise in allowances on impaired commercial loans.

On an adjusted basis, Laurentian says it earned $1.03 per diluted share for its most recent quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 79 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

The average analyst estimate had been for an adjusted profit of 74 cents per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.