Pacific Mercantile Bancorp in Costa Mesa, Calif., reported a $6.8 million loss for the fourth quarter, cutting its loss nearly in half from a year earlier, with the improvement primarily driven by a lower provision for loan losses.

The $1.2 billion-asset company said Wednesday that it took a provision of $9.8 million for the fourth quarter, down 40% from a year earlier. Although Pacific Mercantile set aside less money to cover problem assets, its reserves increased 61 basis points to 2.44% of loans outstanding from a year earlier.

Nonperforming assets doubled from a year earlier to $60.1 million. However, nonperformers were down 18% from the third quarter.

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