FirstMerit Corp.’s profit rose 6.7 percent for the first quarter, the Akron-based bank reported Tuesday.

Net income was $57.1 million, or 33 cents per share, compared to $53.5 million, or 31 cents per share, for the first quarter a year ago.

The results are the company’s 64th consecutive quarter of profitability, the bank said.

The bank said its average originated commercial loans increased $245 million, or 3.17 percent, compared with the prior quarter, and increased $1.2 billion, or 17.02 percent, compared with same quarter a year ago.

Average originated loans were $12.7 billion during the first quarter, an increase of $383.6 million, or 3.12 percent, compared with the fourth quarter 2014, and an increase of $2.2 billion, or 21.45 percent, compared with first-quarter 2014.

According to the latest filings, the bank employs 4,103 full-time equivalents, down 170 from the previous quarter and 418 from the 4,521 it reported the same time a year ago.

FirstMerit spokesman Rob Townsend said company employment numbers are down, but “here in Summit County, as an employer, our numbers are fairly flat — even year to year.”

Townsend declined to say how many employees FirstMerit employs in Summit County, citing company policy not to provide breakdowns beyond total company-wide numbers.

Companyside, the 418 fewer jobs in the last year is attributed to a few things, Townsend said: “Attrition, efficiencies gained through the [Citizens Republic merger in 2013], investments in technology as well as consolidation of operations elsewhere in the footprint.”

Townsend said none of the job losses are through branch closures over the past year. When branches close, the company offers jobs elsewhere to employees, he said.

Last summer, FirstMerit closed 26 branches, including in the Merriman Valley of Akron. The bank is also set to close another 16 branches Thursday, including four in the Akron area.

Job losses occurred this year when FirstMerit closed its mortgage title division in Canton, resulting in fewer than 60 job losses, and a “small number” of back-office employees’ jobs in Akron were eliminated.

FirstMerit operates 383 branches in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and western Pennsylvania.

Betty Lin-Fisher can be reached at 330-996-3724 or Follow her @blinfisherABJ on Twitter or and see all her stories at