Two southeastern banks, Synovus Financial Corp. and Centura Banks Inc., finished the year with a strong fourth quarter, helped by good loan growth and improved net interest margins. Earnings per-share at Synovus and Centura fell right in line with Wall Street consensus estimates.

But earnings per-share at a third company, Hibernia Corp., came in at 15 cents a share, sharply below the consensus estimate of 26 cents. Hibernia, which is based in New Orleans, attributed the shortfall to two acquisition- related charges and a $3.9 million securities loss.

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