(Bloomberg) Regions Financial (RF) reported fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' estimates as its net interest margin, a gauge of lending profitability, widened.

Net income was $265 million, or 18 cents a share, compared with a loss of $548 million, or 48 cents, a year earlier, when the lender posted a non-cash charge tied to the sale of the Morgan Keegan brokerage, the Birmingham-based bank said today in a statement. Excluding some one-time items, profit was 22 cents, compared with the 21-cent average estimate of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

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