Synovus Financial Corp. of Columbus, Ga., posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $637 million, or $1.93 a share, citing substantially higher credit costs and goodwill impairment.

On average, analysts were expecting a loss of 49 cents, according to Thomson Reuters.

The $35.7 billion-asset company lost $26.9 million in the third quarter and gained $81.9 million a year earlier.

The loan-loss provision rose 140% from the third quarter and 415% from a year earlier, to $363.9 million, Synovus said late Thursday. The fourth-quarter results included a $443 million noncash charge for goodwill impairment following a review of assets.

Net chargeoffs rose 118% from the third quarter and 283% from a year earlier, to $229.4 million. Nonperforming assets rose 17.2% from the third quarter and 164% from a year earlier, to $1.17 billion.

"As the economy continued to deteriorate in the fourth quarter, credit quality in the residential construction and development portfolios, especially in Atlanta, continued to weaken," Richard Anthony, Synovus' chairman and chief executive, said in a press release. "We are taking actions to recognize and liquidate these nonperforming credits as efficiently and economically as possible."

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