Impairment charges tied to the divestiture of its Morgan Keegan broker-dealer unit drove Regions to a $602 million net loss in the fourth quarter. But executives argue the pending sale — along with an overhaul of its deposit business — will put Regions back on track and gird it against higher regulatory and credit costs.

"Although we are encouraged by the recent improvements and economic indicators … we do believe the economy remains challenged by the housing market, and the pace of economic recovery does appear to be incremental," Regions president and chief executive, O.B. Grayson Hall Jr., said during a conference call Tuesday. "We expect to be very disciplined and focus on basic banking and customers."

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