Valley National Corp., parent company of Valley Utah Bancorporation, announced earnings of $19 million, or 96 cents per share, for the first quarter of 1989, up from $13.9 million or 70 cents per share for the same period last year.

Operating expense was $107.9 million for the first quarter 1989, compared to $110.5 million for the corresponding quarter in 1988, a decrease of $2.6 million. This decrease reflects the corporation's improved operating efficiency as a result of a continued emphasis on expense control.The net interest margin of 4.94 percent for first quarter 1989 increased from 4.43 percent from first quarter 1988 as a result of a favorable interest rate environment and effective management of the corporation's assets and liabilities.

Non-performing assets were $462.6 million compared to $390.1 million a year ago. Net credit losses were $27.9 million, compared to $25.5 million in first quarter 1988.