Mercantile Bancorp Inc. of Quincy, Ill., said Wednesday that it swung to a fourth-quarter loss of $6.7 million, or 77 cents a share, on loan problems in once-hot real estate markets in the Southeast.

The $1.8 billion-asset company reported a profit of $2.5 million, or 29 cents a share, for the fourth quarter of 2007. In the 2008 quarter its loan-loss provision surged 1,063% from a year earlier, to $12.8 million.

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