Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce opened the Canadian banks' first-quarter earnings season with big increases in revenue and profit compared with last year.

CIBC says its profit for the quarter ended Jan. 31 was $652 million, or $1.58 per diluted share.  

cibc-cp-6320955

A CIBC bank branch is shown in Old Montreal. The banks' first-quarter earnings season showed big increases in revenue and profit compared with last year. ((Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press))

That's up from $147 million, or 29 cents per share, a year ago.

CIBC's first-quarter revenue also grew to $3.06 billion — about $1 billion higher than the same period last year.

CIBC stock added $2 to $69.82 in TSX trading.

"Both the U.S. and Canadian economies ended 2009 on a stronger note, and that momentum looks to carry over into healthy growth through at least the first half of 2010," the bank said in updating its outlook for the next year.

The bank's loan loss provisions — the amount of money the bank holds in reserve against loans that have gone sour — were $365 million during the quarter, up from $278 million last year.

Bankruptcies in the credit card division were responsible for most of the writedowns, but losses at the bank's FirstCaribbean International Bank unit were also a factor, the bank said.

While higher on a year-over-year basis, loss provisions were lower compared to the previous quarter ended Oct. 31, when CIBC set aside $424 million.

Reacting to shareholder criticism of lavish compensation packages, the bank also announced it has reduced its range of pay for senior executives, as well as the potential for swings in compensation pay from one year to the next.