NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Doral Financial Corp. on Friday said in a regulatory filing its fourth-quarter loss and full-year losses swelled as turmoil continued in the mortgage and banking industries. The company also said it is suspending its preferred dividends for the current quarter to preserve cash. The Puerto Rican bank, once one of the territory's largest mortgage lenders, said after the payment of preferred stock dividends, the net loss attributable to common shareholders widened to $324.2 million, or $6.02 per share, from $42.3 million, or 79 cents per share, in the 2007 quarter. The results included a non-cash impairment charge and established a $21.6 million reserve to cover certain holdings related to Lehman Brothers Inc., which declared bankruptcy in September. Net interest income, or earnings from deposits, fell 4 percent to $128.1 million for the quarter, compared with $133.6 million in 2007. Non-interest income, or profit from fees and charges, was $25.3 million, reversing a non-interest loss of $2.4 million in 2007. Doral Financial's provision for loan and lease losses dropped by 45 percent to $26.2 million, from $47.8 million in the 2007 quarter.
For the year, the net loss attributable to common shareholders after the payment of preferred stock dividends, widened to $351.6 million, or $6.53 per share, from $204.2 million, or $7.45 per share, in 2007. The per-share figures reflect a 96 percent increase in the number of outstanding shares year-over-year. Non-performing loans, or loans that were past due, increased 13 percent to $721.7 million in 2008, from $636.3 million the prior year. Net charge-offs, or loans written off as unpaid, more than doubled, to $41.6 million, from $20.7 million in 2007. Doral also said its board suspended the payment of dividends on all its preferred stock, effective with dividends for the month of April 2009 for the company's three outstanding series of non-cumulative preferred stock and the dividends for the 2009 second quarter for the company's outstanding series of cumulative preferred stock. "These are tough decisions, especially with respect to the preferred stock dividends, but necessary to protect our capital during a worldwide crisis in order to be well-positioned for the long term," Glen R. Wakeman, president and chief executive, said. Doral Financial shares fell 16 cents, or 6.5 percent, to close Friday at $2.29. The stock has traded between $2.11 and $24.23 in the past 52 weeks, and is down about 67 percent since the start of the year.