Metro Bancorp Inc. in Harrisburg, Pa., swung to a $490,000 loss in the third quarter, but said it plans to use the $77.9 million of capital it just raised to complete its pending acquisition of Republic First Bancorp in Philadelphia and continue growing aggressively.

The loss of 8 cents a share arose from higher expenses, including a 118% increase in the loan-loss provision from a year earlier, to $3.7 million. Chargeoffs soared to $8.4 million, or an annualized 2.29% of average total loans. This ratio had been a negligible 0.01% the year earlier and 0.16% at June 30.

Nonperforming assets and loans past due 90 days rose 162% from the year earlier, but fell 4% from June 30, to $32 million, or 1.53% of total assets.

The $2.1 billion-asset Metro, which reported its quarterly results along with the capital infusion late Monday, said it expects to close its year-old deal for the $937 million-asset Republic First this quarter, once it receives regulatory approval.

Metro has declined to discuss the unusually long delay in getting approval, but industry observers have speculated that the company needed more capital to make regulators comfortable.

The common stock offering last month boosted Metro's total risk-based capital ratio to 13.89% at Sept. 30, well above the 10% typically required for a company to be considered well capitalized. This ratio had been 10.75% the year earlier.

Metro's results included $1.8 million of charges related to rebranding itself and switching to a new data processing provider. The company had used the name Pennsylvania Commerce Bancorp Inc. until this summer.

Metro lost $1.4 million, or 21 cents a share, in the second quarter, when it also took a $3.7 million provision. It had earned $3.4 million, or 52 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2008.

Its stock had slipped 3% by early Tuesday afternoon, to $11.91.

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