Saddled with bad loans and high expenses, Riggs National Corp. of Washington, D.C., ended the decade on a down note.

The $5.7 billion-asset company reported that its net income dropped 50% in the fourth quarter and 50% for the year. Riggs' stock has been plummeting since the third quarter, when it disclosed that it held more than $25 million of two syndicated loans that went sour. The loan troubles forced Riggs to charge off $12.3 million in the fourth quarter and boost its provision for loan losses. The result: Earnings plunged to $7 million, or 25 cents a share, compared with the year-earlier period, well below analysts' consensus estimate of 33 cents a share.

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