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Zions Bancorporation

(ZION) - Get Report

was the loser among major U.S. financial names on Tuesday, with shares sliding 8% to close at $17.15.

Zions on Monday after the market close reported fourth-quarter earnings to common shareholders of $44.4 million, or 24 cents a share, compared to earnings of $65.2 million, or 35 cents, the previous quarter, and a net loss of $110.3 million, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had been expecting the Salt Lake City lender to post fourth-quarter EPS of 26 cents a share.

The broad indexes were mixed, as investors awaited the outcome of continuing negotiations over a debt write-down deal for Greece. The

KBW Bank Index


was down 1% to 43.24, with 20of the 24 index components seeing declines.

Zions Bancorporationy's non-interest income declined to $98.3 million in the fourth quarter from $121 million the previous quarter, from "an $8 million reduction, partially offset by other items, in other service charges, commissions and fees due to the impact of the Durbin amendment," as well as $18.5 million in investment gains booked during the third quarter.

The company transferred $1.5 million from loan loss reserves during the fourth quarter, compared to provisions for loan losses of $14.6 million the previous quarter and $173.2 million a year earlier. Taking loan charge-offs and the negative provision into account, Zions saw a direct boost to its fourth-quarter bottom line, through a $99 million release of loan loss reserves.

Zions reported 1% growth of average loans during the fourth quarter, coming in behind other large regional players, including

Fifth Third

(FITB) - Get Report



(STI) - Get Report

, and


(CMA) - Get Report

, discussed in detail as part of


earnings coverage.

Huntington Bancshares

(HBAN) - Get Report



(BBT) - Get Report

were among other regionals showing

strong fourth-quarter earnings growth


Zions did follow the trend for growth in coveted noninterest bearing deposits, which grew 8% sequentially and 18% year-over-year, to $16.1 billion, as of Dec. 31.

The company owes $1.4 billion in federal bailout funds received through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP.

FBR analyst Paul Miller on Tuesday reiterated his "Outperform" rating for Zions, but lowered his price target for the stock to $20 from $25 following the "messy quarter," saying that "much of the noise surrounding this earnings release will likely dissipate over time as the company goes through the Fed stress test, the convertible debt pays down, and problem credits run off."

Miller added that "the company is incrementally closer to paying back TARP in the next quarter or two. We expect the ZION to raise minimal capital to pay back the Treasury department, which should be accretive to earnings.

The analyst estimates Zions will earn $1.31 a share for 2012, followed by EPS of $1.50 in 2013.

Interested in more on Zions Bancorporation? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.

The winner among large U.S. financials on Tuesday was

Regions Financial

(RF) - Get Report

, with shares rising over 6% to close at $5.23, after the Birmingham, Ala., lender reported a fourth-quarter net loss to common shareholders of $602 million, or 48 cents a share, mainly driven by a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $731 million, related to the coming sale of the company's

Morgan Keegan

brokerage subsidiary to Raymond James

The company said that excluding the goodwill impairment, its fourth-quarter income from continuing operations would have been nine cents a share, beating the consensus estimate of six cents a share, among analysts polled by FactSet.

In comparison, Regions reported earnings to common shareholders of $101 million, or eight cents a share, in the third quarter, and $36 million, or three cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The company still owes $3.5 billion in TARP money, which is the most for any publicly traded bank.

Following the industry trend, Regions continued improvement in its deposit mix, as "deposit costs declined to 40 basis points down 6 basis points from third quarter and for the full year declined 29 basis points," but growth in interest-free checking accounts slowed during the fourth quarter. These balances totaled $28.3 billion as of Dec. 31, down slightly from the previous quarter, but up 10% year-over-year.

The company's provision for loan losses declined to $295 million in the fourth quarter, from $355 million the previous quarter and $682 million a year earlier. Earnings were boosted by a $219 million release of loan loss reserves.

Fourth-quarter service charges on deposit accounts totaled $263 million, declining from $310 million the previous quarter and $290 million a year earlier, mainly because the Durbin Amendment's limitation on debit card interchange fees charged to merchants was implemented by the Federal Reserve on Oct. 1.

Please see


earnings coverage

for more detail and an investment opinion on Regions Financial.

Interested in more on Regions Financial? See TheStreet Ratings' report card for this stock.


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Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip van Doorn


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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for TheStreet.com Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.