Synovus Financial Corp. reported its third straight quarterly loss while cutting its credit costs in spite of surging defaults.

The $34.5 billion-asset Columbus, Ga., banking company lost $136.7 million in the first quarter, or 46 cents a share, compared to a $637 million loss in the fourth quarter and an $81 million gain a year earlier. On average, analysts were expecting a loss of 37 cents, according to Thomson Reuters. The fourth-quarter results included a substantial goodwill impairment charge.

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