Synovus Financial (NYSE:SNV) throws its hat into the earnings ring early Tuesday, and investors are facing a big question: Will CEO Kessel D. Stelling and crew deliver good news? Or should investors be wary of less than impressive results?

Beware, Fool!
Analysts are expecting the Atlanta-based bank to report earnings of $0.02 per share on $272.7 million in revenues. Should the bank meet these modest expectations, it would be right in line with what the bank did during the first quarter of last year, providing a bit of stability to a bank that hasn't exactly been a strong performer recently.

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The bank's fourth-quarter results were less than stellar, with net income of $712.8 million driven mostly by a one-time income tax benefit and the sale of some distressed assets. The bank shouldn't have similar events to rely on during the first quarter, placing bottom- and top-line success squarely on the actual performance of the bank. Hopefully, the bank will surprise, but I am not holding my breath.

Also still looming large over the bank is the nearly $1 billion in TARP funds that it has yet to repay. The dividends and other obligations relating to these funds have been a drag on the performance of the bank for quite some time, though Stelling did indicate with fourth-quarter earnings that he expects the TARP obligation to be repaid by the end of 2013. Doing so could finally pull the bank out of its doldrums, though as Fool John Maxfield indicates, it is a long way from fully emerging from the financial crisis.

Fool contributor Robert Eberhard has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.