A flurry of regional banks reported upbeat third-quarter earnings Wednesday marked by securities gains, generally improving credit quality, and continuing lackluster loan demand.

First Chicago Corp.'s earnings soared to $284 million during the third quarter after a loss of $372 million in the year-earlier period. In the 1992 third quarter, the nation's 12th-largest bank company took a $625 million provision related to its program to sell impaired real estate.

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