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Zions Bancorporation reports slump in Q1 earnings

Zions Bancorporation has reported that its first quarter net earnings available to common shareholders were $104.3 million, a decrease from $149.7 million for the first quarter of 2007. The return on average common equity was 8.18% compared to 12.25% for the first quarter of 2007.

Net interest income for the first quarter of 2008 increased $7.6 million or 6.4% annualized to $486.5 million compared to $478.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. The net interest margin was 4.23% for the period as compared to 4.51% for the corresponding quarter in 2007.

For the quarter, average core deposits increased $1.8 billion or 5.8% compared to $30.4 billion for the first quarter of 2007. Non-performing assets were $434.3 million at March 31, 2008, an increase from $82.5 million as at March 31, 2007.

Harris Simmons, chairman and CEO of Zions Bancorporation, said: While the general economy is slowing in other markets, our banks in Texas, the Intermountain West, and the Pacific Northwest continued to see growth and relatively strong performance.

Our continued focus on conserving capital and managing interest rate risk resulted in remarkably stable capital ratios and net interest margin, in spite of a very challenging environment.