Zions Bancorp., still struggling with its commercial real estate portfolio, lost $182 million in the fourth quarter and $1.2 billion for the year but reported improvements in credit quality and capital.

In keeping with other regional banks, its net chargeoffs declined to $292 million, from $383 million in the third quarter. Loss provisions dropped $175 million, to $390 million.

Nonperforming assets grew, however, to $2.3 billion, a rise of 7%.

Zions' Tier 1 common equity improved during the quarter, rising to 6.1% from 5.8%. Contributing to that were Zions' shrinking balance sheet, its sale of $156 million in common stock during the quarter and revised accounting for its subordinate debt modification last June.

"We enter into 2010 feeling increasingly confident that peak levels of loan losses are behind us and that economic conditions in the majority of our markets have begun to stabilize," Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Harris Simmons said.

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