Today regional bank Synovus (NYSE:SNV) reported quarterly earnings per share of $0.32, a 35% gain over the $0.24 seen in the second quarter of last year, but well below the $0.48 average analyst expectation as reported by Yahoo! Finance.

The bottom line after tax earnings at Synovus stood at $46.8 million in the second quarter, which was a 2.9% gain over the second quarter of 2013.

The principal reason behind the sizable gain in its income available to its common shareholders -- which rose by $13.6 million to $44.3 million -- was its dividends on preferred stocks falling from $14.8 million to $2.6 million. In July of last year Synovus announced it would be redeeming the $968 million in preferred stock held by the Treasury as a result of TARP efforts, by issuing more public shares -- which are up 14% year over year -- and preferred shares available to investors. It noted in the announcement the TARP position reduced the net income available to shareholders by $59 million each year as a result of the dividends paid out.

Overall earnings at the bank were relatively flat in the most recent quarter, as its net interest income grew by 2%, or $3.7 million, resulting from a reduction in its interest expense and its provision for loan losses. Its non-interest income fell by 2.6% to $62.4 million as a result of its mortgage banking income falling by 28%, or $2.1 million.

"We are pleased with our performance for the second quarter, which includes earnings per share of $0.35 excluding restructuring charges," noted the chairman and CEO of Synovus, Kessel Stelling, in the announcement. "We reported solid loan growth of 5.9% annualized, with C&I [commercial and industrial] and retail reporting 7.2% and 14.3% growth, respectively."

One of the biggest highlights was continued improvement in its credit quality, as its non-performing loans fell by 33% relative to the first quarter. And its non-performing loan ratio fell from 2.47% last year to 1.27% in the most recent quarter.

"We continue to successfully execute our plan for improving financial performance as evidenced by another quarter of solid operating results," Stelling added to conclude his remarks. "We are energized about the opportunities ahead as we position Synovus as a banking leader for customers and communities across the Southeast."

Synovus Financial Corp., based in Columbus, Ga., serves customers through 28 locally branded divisions, 271 branches and 355 ATMs in Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Florida and Tennessee.