Expansion-minded Suburban Ban-corporation reported a 37 percent increase in first-quarter earnings and was chided for the absence of a woman on its board of directors at the annual meeting yesterday.

Speaking to about 350 stockholders and bank executives in Bethesda, Suburban Chairman Robert F. Tardio said the Hyattsville bank holding company earned $3.98 million (86 cents a share) in the first three months of 1979 compared with $2.9 million (63 cents) in the same period last year. The preliminary results have not been audited and do not count any gains or losses from selling securities.

Tardio said Suburan's strong growth in assets, deposits and loan volume in recent months "may very well continue" throughout this year depite forecasts of national recession.

The strong economy of the Washington-Baltimore region helped to boost Suburban's 1978 earnings to a record $13.5 million, up 20 percent from 1977, and continued the holding companys pattern of outperforming bank industry averages in such key areas as return on equity and assets.

But at least two stockholders-both women-said yesterday that Suburban was not performing as well as it could in widening its corporate board to include women or minorities.

Judith Koenick of Chevy Chase complained that Suburban has not taken steps it could to get women on the board. And she noted after the meeting that she was the only one of half a dozen stockholders to ask questions that was requested to give her name and to answer a question from Tardio about whether she owned any stock in the company.

Koenick said not only did she own 300 shares but she recalled "the thrill" as a child of getting Suburban dividend checks. "I resent the fact I was singled out . . . and I don't think they've really worked or shown vision in finding a woman," she said.

In response to her question, and another on the same subject, Tardio said: "I hear what you say." He told the meeting that Suburban's board had talked about the issue on a "constant basis" but asserted that they had found no qualified women. "We will not entertain women just for the sake of tokenism, "he asserted.

Tardio called on stockholders to make any suggestions to him for women board members and noted that one bank acquired by Suburban, Thurmont Bank, has one woman director, Helen Swanson.

The company's flagship bank, Suburban Trust Co., also has added two women to an advisory board in the past year, Tardio said.

Suburban Bancorporation, with assets totaling $1.3 billion, is a multi-bank holding company. Suburban Trust, the Hyattsville bank, operates personal and commercial banking and trust services throughout Mayland.

Tardio described his firm's expansion program as following growth patterns from Washington and Baltimore along new and improved transportation routes.

Last year, Suburban acquied Peoples National Bank of Hancock and the Free State Bank and Trust Co. of Potomac. Earlier this year, an agreement in principal was reached to acquire Antietam Bank Co. of Hagerstown and to merge it into the Hancock institution

In order to improve services in the western Maryland region, Suburban plans a regional processing center in Hegerstown by May.

In addition, Suburban took a major step recently by establishing two non-banking subsidiaries:

Suburban Funding Corp., engaged in leasing throughout Maryland, Virginia and D.C. The company's leases consist of data-processing equipment, material-handling equipment, construction equipment and trucks. The subsidiary's portfollio now has a value of more than $7.5 million.

Suburban Mortgage Associates Inc., a lender under various federal guaranteed and state-guaranteed loan programs. In the first quarter of the subsidiary's operations, it funded a $9.5 million Federal Housing Administration loan. Properties in Eastern Seaboard state will be supervised by the company's office in Washington. Hyattsville and Providence, R.I.

Tardio also said yesterday that Suburban Trust will double its automatic teller facilities to more than 40 this year. According to William Wheeler, chairman of Suburban Trust Bank, the automated teller machines were used for more than 1.9 million customer transactions last year. With the addition of new machines, he forecast 5 million transactions in 1980.

All incumbent board members were re-elected. CAPTION: Picture, ROBERT F. TARDIO . . . strong growth may continue