BOSTON -- Boston Five Bancorp.'s loss increased to $9.9 million in the quarter ended July 31, from $5.8 million in the year-earlier period.

The per-share loss widened to $1.40 for the quarter, the third of the company's fiscal year, from 82 cents a year earlier.

In the nine months ended July 31, the parent of Boston Five Cents Savings Bank lost $13.9 million, or $1.97 a share, compared with a loss of $17.5 million, or $2.49 a share, in the year-earlier period.

The thrift, which has $1.7 billion in assets, meets all capital requirements.

"Based upon our success to date in reducing nonperforming assets, increasing our level of reserves, and other trends, management believes that the bank is poised to return to profitability," said chairman Peter J. Blampied. "In the third quarter, we increased the level of reserves that we hold against certain asset categories.

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