Synovus Financial Corp. in Georgia earned a record $50.9 million in the second quarter, 26% more than a year earlier.

Noninterest income from banking operations grew 12%, with credit card and trust fees contributing much of the gain.

The $11.2 billion-asset company also reduced its ratio of nonperforming assets to loans by 3 basis points, to 0.40%, during the first half. A bank spokesman credited "the continued strength of the southeastern regional economy."

Columbus-based Synovus is the parent of 36 banks in four Southeast states.

In other earnings news, National Commerce Bancorp. in Memphis posted record profits of $24 million for the quarter, up 21% from the same period in 1998.

The $6.3 billion-asset company credited the gain to loan growth and an improved efficiency ratio.

National Commerce's ratio of expenses to revenue was 43.03% in the quarter, compared with 48.92% in last year's second quarter.

Riggs National Corp. in Washington reported net income of $9.6 million, down from $14.5 million in the second quarter of 1998.

The $5.4 billion-asset company said earnings in last year's second quarter were aided by nonrecurring securities gains and a lower tax rate. The latest quarter's earnings were hurt by a repurchase of common stock.

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