SunTrust Banks Inc. ( STI) shares were falling Thursday, after the Atlanta bank holding company swung to a loss worse than analysts expected.

SunTrust shares were down 8.1% to $14.15 in Thursday trading, after it reported a first quarter net loss of $815 million, compared to a net loss of $348 million in the fourth quarter and net income of $291 million in the first quarter of 2008.

After $67 million in preferred stock dividends and other adjustments, the first quarter loss available to common shareholders was $875 million, or $2.49 per share, which exceeded the Thomsen Reuters consensus earnings estimate of a first quarter loss of 65 cents per share.

An after-tax noncash goodwill impairment charge of $715 million was the main factor in the first quarter loss. If that charge were excluded, the company would have come out ahead of the consensus earnings estimate, with a loss of 46 cents per share.

Another factor hurting most holding companies' earnings is the quarterly provision for loan loss reserves, which for SunTrust was $994 million for the first quarter, increasing from $962 million last quarter and $560 million in the first quarter of 2008.

SunTrust received $3.5 billion in new capital on Nov. 14, selling preferred shares to the U.S. government via the Treasury's Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. SunTrust's capital ratios improved further in the first quarter, as the company reduced its total assets during the quarter by $10 billion to $179 billion, mainly from the sale of securities.

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