Loan problems are far from over for $3.9 billion-asset Silicon Valley Bancshares.

The company, whose fourth-quarter profits fell 50% short of Wall Street forecasts because of trouble with loans to start-up technology firms, said Friday that nonperformers climbed unexpectedly fast in the first quarter.

The jump, from $20 million at yearend to $52 million-a six-year high- stunned analysts. Early last month the Santa Clara, Calif., company estimated that March 31 nonperformers would total only $31 million.

"It's up to management to get its credibility back with Wall Street," said Lana Chan of CIBC Oppenheimer in New York. "I would like to see more disclosure."

Silicon Valley's stock fell 11%, to $17.875 per share, in heavy trading Friday. At midday Tuesday the stock was trading at $18.

Despite the trouble with its loans, the company managed to post decent first-quarter earnings-$7.8 million, up 2.6% from a year earlier.

The largest of the nonperformers was a $15 million loan to a financial services company. The loan-which has been on Silicon Valley's classified asset list the past few quarters-was deemed nonperforming the last week of the first-quarter.

Others included a pair of $7 million loans-one to a health-care company and another to a television and cable firm.

In a conference call Friday with analysts, Silicon Valley Bank executives stressed that the loans are adequately secured with collateral and reserves and said they do not expect any future charge-offs to affect profits.

Bank officials added that they expect to collect the $7 million from the television and cable firm, which has an agreement to be sold. They also said that $5 million of the $52 million was recovered during the first two weeks of April.

"We're confident each loan will be collected in full," said David Jones, chief credit officer.

Officials did not answer questions about the type of collateral behind the $15 million loan, saying they feared that doing so might reveal the company's identity. They did say, however, that the loan is not backed by real estate.

To improve credit quality and reduce risk, the banking company said it has revamped its underwriting practices and strengthened lender education and loan monitoring practices.

But that announcement hardly appeased analysts, many of whom have a "hold rating" on its stock.

With the continued deterioration of asset quality, analysts expressed displeasure over the company's refusal to share any information about the nature of the loans on its classified list.

Joseph K. Morford 3d, an analyst at First Security Van Kasper in San Francisco, wondered aloud if it was hiding other loan problems.

Ms. Chan echoed that sentiment.

"Am I comfortable that there will be no more significant deterioration?" she asked. "No I am not."

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