Merrillville-based Centier Bank said its first quarter profit was up 24.6 percent to $7.1 million, according to a news release issued Tuesday.

The bank said the first-quarter profit showed a 1.3 percent return on average assets and represented an improvement upon the $5.7 million earned in the first quarter of 2012.

Centier also said total capital increased to $216 million. Deposits increased nearly 4 percent, or $68 million, from the 2012 year-end level of $1.89 billion.

The bank said mortgage banking revenues were $1.6 million for the first quarter of 2013, a 105 percent increase over the same period in 2012.

Centier Bank President and CEO Mike Schrage said the mortgage market continues to improve.

“The mortgage market is steadily showing signs of recovery,”Schrage said in a statement. “Our mortgage lending division is working with local Realtors and developers to get families into new homes and to help refinance existing homes.”

Centier will soon open a branch inside of the new Merrillville Ultra. The bank also plans to open an branch inside the new Cedar Lake Strack & Van Til, and this summer will open a branch inside of Hammond Van Til’s.

Renovations of the Crown Point Downtown branch will be completed in June, and after that the bank will open its Valparaiso South branch, according to the release.

Centier is the largest privately owned independent bank in Indiana. It has 46 branches in Northern Indiana, including business centers in Mishawaka and Fort Wayne and a loan production office serving Carmel and Indianapolis.