Synovus Financial Corp. reported its seventh straight quarterly loss despite lower credit costs and a gain from selling its merchant services business.

The $32.4 billion-asset Columbus, Ga., company lost $215.7 million in the first quarter, compared with $249.9 million in the fourth quarter. The results included a $43 million after-tax gain from selling the merchant services business.

The loan-loss provision fell 11.9% from the previous quarter, to $340.9 million.

Net chargeoffs fell 12.7% from the fourth quarter, to $316 million.

Nonperforming assets rose 0.6%, to $1.84 billion.

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