Citizens Republic Bancorp Inc. in Flint, Mich., reported a loss of $68.7 million in the first quarter, a marked improvement over the $106 million it lost in the last quarter of 2010.

The $9.7 billion-asset company attributed the results to improved credit quality as it continued to shed problem assets. Nonperforming loans declined by $99 million during the quarter and total 30-to-89-day delinquencies fell to 0.9% of total loan loans, the lowest level in nearly five years.

"During the quarter, we substantially completed our accelerated plan to resolve problem assets that we announced last October," said Cathleen Nash, the company's president and chief executive officer in a news release. "The execution of that plan was right in line with our expectations."

Nash said that the company is now in strong position to meet its stated goal of returning to profitability by the third quarter.

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