Sterling Bancshares Inc. in Houston reported a narrow loss Tuesday for what should be its last quarter before its sale to Comerica Inc.

The $5 billion-asset company posted a first-quarter loss of $370,000, compared with a $1.9 million gain in the fourth quarter and a $6.2 million loss a year earlier. Sterling's loan-loss provision of $10.8 million was double the fourth-quarter provision but less than half the year-earlier provision. Nonperforming assets rose 9% from the fourth quarter and 21% from a year earlier, to $185.7 million.

Total loans fell 6% from the fourth quarter and 16% from a year earlier, to $2.6 billion.

Comerica, of Dallas, is expected to close its deal to buy Sterling in the second quarter.

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