Patriot National Bancorp Inc. saw its losses widen in the first quarter, but asset quality improved substantially as the Stamford, Conn., company continued shed problem loans.

Late Tuesday, Patriot reported a first-quarter loss of $9 million compared to a loss of $3.1 million in the same quarter last year. The increase was due largely to a $6.2 million loss Patriot took on the bulk sale of nonperforming assets, which the company said "reduced nonaccrual loan balances to acceptable operating levels."

Loans placed on nonaccrual status fell by 56% in the first quarter, while total nonperforming loans decreased to $32.5 million, or 6.8% of loans, from $89.1 million, or 16.2% of total loans, three months earlier.

The company is also continuing to shrink its assets as part of a broad effort to reduce its concentration in construction and commercial real estate loans. Its total assets declined by nearly 13%, to $710 million, year over year as it shrunk its loan portfolio from $625 million to $467 million.

Deposits, meanwhile, fell by more than 18% since the first quarter of 2010 as the company continued to let high-interest deposits run off.

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