Provident Bankshares Corp. in Baltimore swung to a loss in the third quarter after taking a $24.6 million impairment charge on investment securities that have sharply declined in value.

The $6.4 billion-asset company, which posted a profit of $16 million, or 50 cents a share, in the year-earlier period, said Monday that it lost $5.4 million, or 21 cents a share. Steep writedowns on its holdings in mortgage-backed and trust-preferred securities also led to a loss in the first quarter and forced Provident to restate second-quarter earnings.

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