Wilmington Trust (NYSE:WL) revealed Friday a significantly widened fourth-quarter loss, driven primarily by continued weaknesses in credit quality, particularly of commercial construction loans.
The Wilmington, Del.-based company reported a net loss of $209.3 million, or $2.35 a share, compared with a loss of $11.2 million, or 23 cents a share, in the same quarter last year, much worse than average analyst estimates of a 35-cent loss.
Net interest income fell to $59.9 million, down 12% from $77.9 million the year-earlier.
Provision for loan losses also weakened, up to $135.6 million from $82.8 million in the 2009 period. Net charge-offs, meanwhile, totaled $205.2 million, up significantly from $33.1 million in the same quarter last year, due primarily to commercial construction loans.
“Negative credit trends continued to drive losses in the fourth quarter, but core deposit balances trended higher, our liquidity position strengthened, and the performance of our Corporate Client and Wealth Advisory Services businesses was very strong,” said Wilmington CEO Donald E. Foley.
The positives were offset by a decline in net interest income and compression in the net interest margin, as well as the effects of what Foley said were difficult economic condition in Delaware.