Zions Bancorp. has reported a net loss of $179.5 million, or $1.41 per diluted common share, for the third quarter.

One year ago, in its 2008 third-quarter report, the Salt Lake-based bank holding company had a profit of $33.3 million, or 31 cents a share.

Zions Bancorp. is the parent company of Zions Bank, and this year's third-quarter-earnings report marked the fourth consecutive quarterly loss for the company.

"Results from the third quarter were mixed," Harris H. Simmons, Zions' chairman and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement. "We again augmented our capital, reserves and liquidity positions, even as we saw some signs of stabilization in some geographies and markets; however, we believe the economy remains fragile, and therefore we continue to exercise caution."

He said core pretax pre-provision earnings of about $1 billion, combined with actions to augment capital reserves and liquidity, "position the company to continue weathering an uncertain economic environment."

The challenges noted in the third-quarter report, released after the markets closed Monday, include nonperforming lending-related assets of $2.2 billion, not counting FDIC-supported assets; net loan charge-offs of $381.3 million, compared to $347 million in the second quarter; and credit-related impairment losses of $56.5 million.

In a conference call Monday, vice chairman and chief financial officer Doyle L. Arnold noted that during the past two quarters, Zions has increased the allowance for credit losses by nearly $650 million. "We think we now have one of the strongest reserve levels among regional banks," he said.

Zions has about 500 offices in 10 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington.