Encore Capital Group, the San Diego based collector of charged-off credit card debt, reported first quarter net income of $19.4 million, up from $11.4 million for the like quarter of 2012.

Gross collections, the debt collection industry’s key metric, were $270 million, up 17 percent from the like quarter of 2012.

CEO Brandon Black, who is resigning from his post at the end of June, said the firm’s operating margin continues to expand while the cost to collect declined to all-time low. The firm’s acquisition of another debt collector Asset Acceptance is expected to close in June, giving Encore $3 billion in estimated remaining collections.

Encore also said it expanded its existing credit facility by $217.5 million, and combined with an additional component, it has a total credit facility of $975 million.

Black is being succeeded by Ken Vecchione, who was hired in April as president. Vecchione is the former chief operating officer of Western Alliance Bancorporation, a Phoenix-based holding company for several banks including San Diego-based Torrey Pines Bank.

— Mike Allen