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Regions Financial Profit Grows on Cost-Cutting, Loan Loss Provisions

The Birmingham, Ala.-based bank, one of the Southeast’s largest lenders, said that starting in the third quarter of 2015, low energy prices drove a number of large energy loans into criticized loans, primarily in the exploration and production sector but also in oil field services. Regions increased its energy reserves, upping its total loan loss allowance for its direct energy loan portfolio to 8% at the end of the first quarter versus 6% at the end of the quarter before.

Regions said its provision for loan losses was $113 million, up from $69 million in the fourth quarter. Total business services criticized and classified loans rose 7.5% from the quarter before, meaning the bank had concerns about the financial condition of borrowers, driven by some weakening in a small number of large loans within the lender’s energy...