Tennessee Commerce Bancorp Inc. in Franklin said its fourth-quarter earnings fell 56% from a year earlier, to $553,000, as noninterest expenses increased.

For the year, the $1.4 billion-asset company returned to profitability, earning $1.9 million, compared to a $7.1 million loss in 2009, it said on Friday.

The company reported noninterest expense of $8.1 million, up 65% from a year earlier but down 2.4% from the third quarter.

Its loan-loss provision fell nearly 10% from a year earlier, to $3.8 million, the lowest recorded since the fourth quarter of 2008. Nonperforming assets rose 6% from the third quarter and 57% from a year earlier, to $91.2 million.

Tennessee Commerce also announced that Martin Zorn, its chief administrative officer, resigned to take a job at a Honolulu technology company.

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