ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Second- quarter earnings at Republic Bancshares were down almost 50% because of problems uncovered earlier this year in its mortgage lending unit.

The $2.5 billion-asset parent of Republic Bank said Wednesday that net income for the quarter was $1.7 million, or 15 cents a share, compared with $3 million or 26 cents a share last year.

The company said that it added $5 million to loan- loss reserves primarily because of credit quality issues in its mortgage warehouse division. Bad lines of credit at the division, which provides mortgage companies with interim financing secured by loans held for sale, accounted for $4.4 million of a $7.2 million net charge-off this quarter.

Republic, which has 81 branches throughout Florida, also said it recorded a $793,000 loss stemming from a write-down of certain non-performing loans.

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