BB&T Corp. (BBT) reported net income of $225 million, or 32 cents per share, for the first quarter, up 19% compared to a year ago as the bank reduced its nonperforming assets and saw banking deposits rise. In the year ago period, Winston-Salem-based BB&T earned $188 million, or 27 cents per share. Revenue was $2.04 billion, down from $2.19 billion in the comparable period. The decrease in total revenue included declines of $130 million in noninterest income and $26 million in fully taxable equivalent net interest income. The decline in noninterest income included $74 million in losses related to commercial loans held for sale in connection with management’s asset disposition strategy. Mortgage banking income was $95 million, up from 6.7% from $89 million in the year-ago period. The increase in mortgage banking income was driven by a $13 million, or 162.5%, increase from commercial mortgage banking activities due to improving market conditions. The commercial improvement was offset by lower revenue from residential mortgage banking activities, the bank said. “BB&T posted solid first quarter results as our credit costs continued to decline and economic conditions improved,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kelly S. King. “For the second consecutive quarter, we saw improvements in all measures of credit quality. In particular, we experienced significant declines in past due loans, to our lowest level in three years." The bank has a positive outlook for continued reductions in its problem assets, having sold about $500 million of problem assets during the quarter with plans to exceed that in the second quarter, he said. Its net interest margin was up 13 basis points compared to the first quarter of 2010 and down just slightly from last quarter as the bank benefited from a favorable funding mix, a lower cost of funds and wider credit spreads. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.