After announcing preliminary results on credit-quality issues, Whitney Holding Corp. of New Orleans posted an $18 million net loss for the second quarter.

The $11.4 billion-asset company's net loss jumped 186% from the first quarter, yet showed a 15.5% improvement from the second quarter of 2009. Whitney is the parent of Whitney National Bank.

The company's chairman and chief executive, John Hope 3rd, said in a press release Tuesday that he was "disappointed that the economy remained sluggish" and "did not show signs of improvement we were expecting."

Hope added that the sluggish economy, coupled with the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, "has tempered our optimism for the remainder of 2010" despite good performance in its core business.

Whitney increased its provision for credit losses from the first to second quarter by 57.3%, to nearly $59 million.

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