Zions Bancorp.'s earnings fell 62% in the third quarter to $79.1 million as the company implemented a number of maneuvers to reduce its risk and enhance its capital.

The $56 billion-asset company's earnings of 40 cents per share fell short of the average analyst's estimate of 44 cents per share, according to Bloomberg.

During the quarter, the Salt Lake City-based company issued $525 million in common stock, reduced its long-term debt by $835 million and shed $447 million of exposure in construction and land development loans. Its exposure to collateralized debt obligations also fell through sales and paydowns.

The company's net interest income for the quarter totaled $416.8 million, relatively flat from a year earlier and the prior quarter.

Zions' steps to reduce risk were partially offset by an outsized reserve release. The company reported a negative provision for loan losses of $54.6 million, compared to $5.5 million a year earlier. The company reported a similarly sized negative provision in the second quarter.

Fee income was $116 million, down nearly 5% a year earlier. The decrease was driven largely by a $19 million loss on the sale of the CDOs. That hit, however, was partially offset by increases in dividends and service charges.

Expenses were $438.5 million, up 18% from a year earlier. The debt extinguishment added $44.4 million to the expenses, while Zions also incurred $8 million in incremental expenses related to the company replacing its core loan, deposit and accounting systems. The company also paid out $5 million in severance.

A $125 million preferred stock redemption also aided the company's third quarter 2013 results.

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