Zions Bancorp's (ZION) third-quarter loss narrowed as the Utah-based regional bank's loan-loss provision continued to decline and credit quality improved.
Shares were down 1.3%, at $21.07 in late trading, after climbing 3% in the regular session amid a rally in financial stocks.
In recent quarters, many regional banks have been reporting easing charge-offs and loan-loss provision as the economy recovers. Zions Bancorp's credit-quality improvement earlier this year prompted the company to anticipate swinging to pretax profitability some quarter this year, which it failed to do again this period.
As it reported its eighth quarterly loss in a row, Zions said its provisions for potential loan losses were $184.7 million, compared with $565.9 million a year earlier and $228.7 million in the second quarter. Net charge-offs, loans the bank doesn't expect to collect, dropped to 2.50% of annualized average loans from 3.65% and 2.64%, respectively. Nonperforming assets, or loans in danger of going bad, fell to 6.01% from 6.62% and 6.6% respectively.
Zions reported a loss of $80.5 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $181.9 million, or $1.43 a share. The most recent period had 35% more shares outstanding. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters predicted a 50-cent loss.
Total interest income fell 7.9%, to $581.9 million. The level of loans and deposits both fell sequentially, with 1.2% and 1.3% drops, respectively.
During the downturn, regional banks' performance was often closely linked to local real-estate markets. With operations in 10 Western and Southwestern states, Zions was exposed to some of the hardest hit housing markets.
Zions turned to the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program to get through the worst of the downturn, taking $1.4 billion. The company has been boosting capital levels. In September, it revealed plans to sell warrants, which follows several equity-distribution deals.
-By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; email@example.com