With problem real estate loans continuing to pile up, Western Liberty Bancorp in Las Vegas announced Monday that it lost $2.4 million in the fourth quarter and $14.2 million for the full year.

The company said in a news release that its nonperforming assets more than doubled year over year, to $28.1 million at Dec. 31, and that its percentage of nonperforming assets to total assets swelled to 14.2%, from 5.4% a year earlier. In January, Western Liberty, the parent of Service 1st Bank of Nevada, created a nonbank subsidiary to house problem assets and help it more quickly dispose of problem loans

“While the national and local economic indicators are starting to improve, we are continuing to see asset quality decline, although at a slower pace than in past quarters,” Patricia Ochal, the company’s chief financial officer, said in the earnings announcement.

Western Liberty was formed for the purpose of acquiring banks and it took over the ailing Service 1st in October 2010. Since the acquisition, Western Liberty has shrunk the bank’s assets by nearly 25%, to $198 million at Dec. 31, and substantially increased the bank’s key capital ratios. At Dec. 31, its total risk-based capital ratio was 28.4%, up from 16.83% at Sept. 30, 2010.

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