UPDATE 2-Synovus Q4 loss narrows; eyes profitability in 2011

Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:41am EST

* Q4 loss/shr $0.23 vs loss $0.58/shr yr ago

* Loan loss provisions down 35 pct from yr ago

* Net interest income dips 5 percent from last yr (Rewrites; adds details, background)

Jan 28 (Reuters) - Loss-making lender Synovus Financial Corp (SNV.N) posted a smaller quarterly loss, helped by a decline in loan loss provisions, and said it was in a better position to return to profitability during 2011.

The company, which posted its tenth straight quarterly loss, said loan loss provisions dropped by about a third to $252.4 million in the fourth quarter.

Net interest income was $242 million, down by about 5 percent.

Total non-performing assets fell 18 percent sequentially to $1.28 billion as at Dec. 31, 2010, their lowest level in two years.

The company reported a loss attributable to common shareholders of $180 million, or 23 cents a share, compared with a loss of $282.8 million, or 58 cents a share last year.

Analysts on average were looking for a loss of 20 cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Earlier this month, the Columbus, Georgia-based company said it was cutting 850 jobs in 2011 in a bid to lower its expenses. [ID:nSGE7090AX]

Synovus' shares, which have risen 17 percent over the last three months, closed at $2.81 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Brenton Cordeiro in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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