BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc. returned to profitability in the second quarter due largely to its 19-branch sale to PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

The Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., company reported Wednesday that it earned $23.4 million, compared to a $51.3 million loss a year earlier. Nearly all of its return to the black was due to a $38.7 million gain from selling branches in the Tampa area. BankAtlantic also cut its provision for loan losses by 63% from the first quarte,r to $10.2 million, marking the lowest level in more than three years.

The quarterly results also included a $1.5 million impairment charge tied to "an investment held by BankAtlantic Bancorp," according to a press release.

The $3.8 billion-asset company reported a Tier 1 capital ratio of 8.2% at June 30. Its total risk-based capital ratio was 14.5% at the end of the second quarter. Capital ratios were higher largely due to the branch sale and a $20 million capital raise. The company is no longer in a negative equity position, with a positive $26.2 million at June 30.

Alan Levan, the company's chairman and chief executive, said in the release that both the parent its bank are in compliance with regulatory orders issued in February. He added that the company will continue to defer the regular interest payments tied to its trust preferred securities. The deferred interest totaled $35.4 million at June 30.

However, Levan said credit quality continued to improve, with early stage delinquencies hitting its lowest level in three years at $27.8 million and nonaccruing loans fell 13% to $317 million compared to a year ago.

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