CINCINNATI - Provident Financial Group said earnings plunged 97% in the fourth quarter because of lingering troubles with three large loans.

The $13.9 billion-asset company said Wednesday that it earned $1 million in the fourth quarter, or 2 cents per share, compared with $41.6 million, or 84 cents per share, in the fourth quarter last year. Net income for the year fell 35%, to $100.6 million.

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