Comerica Inc.'s second-quarter profit dropped 68% on weak loan demand, but results widely surpassed muted expectations.

Regional banks like Comerica are tied to the housing market and are more dependent on an improvement in the economy, as the firms derive significant loan revenue from small businesses and local construction. Weak jobs reports have been particularly damaging for regional banks including Dallas-based Comerica, which has banking units in Michigan, Arizona, Florida and California — four of the hardest-hit states by the recession in the wake of the housing bubble.

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