Synovus Financial (SNV) continued its comeback, reporting its fourth profitable quarter in a row Tuesday.

Credit quality improvements were the main driver.

The Columbus, Ga., company reported income of $24.8 million in the second quarter, compared with a loss of $53.5 million a year earlier. Earnings per share totaled three cents, beating analysts' estimates by a penny, according to Thomson Reuters.

For the first six months of the year, the company earned $46.2 million, compared with a loss of $147.2 million for the same period a year earlier.

Synovus, which has assets of $26.3 billion, saw declines in total credit costs, nonperforming loan inflows, nonperforming assets and total delinquencies, Chairman and Chief Executive Kessel D. Stelling said in a news release. Lending fell year over year, but outstanding loans increased in several important categories with "continued pipeline growth throughout our footprint, reflecting the ongoing success of our commercial banking strategy," he said.

Total credit costs fell about 55%, to $70.3 million, from a year earlier. Nonperforming assets fell 21% to $961.4 million, and net chargeoffs dropped 41% to $98.7 million.

Total loans outstanding fell 4%, to $19.7 billion, from a year earlier. Loans outstanding from the large corporate banking, senior housing and asset-based lending groups rose roughly $486 million from the second quarter of 2011.

Net interest income before the provision for loan losses was $213.4 million, down more than 7% from a year earlier. Noninterest income climbed almost 13%, to $76.5 million as mortgage revenue rose 44%, to $8 million.

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