BankAtlantic Bancorp (BBX) reported a net loss of $14.2 million for the first three months of 2012, reducing its losses from $22.9 million a year earlier.

The beleaguered bank, which has a pending sale agreement with BB&T, recorded a loss of 91 cents a share, down from $1.85 a share in the first quarter 2011.

BankAtlantic also lowered its losses from the fourth quarter, during which it lost $17.5 million, or $1.12 a share.

The Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company said Tuesday that its Tier 1 capital ratio fell just below the required 8% as of March 31, which it attributed to a $179.6 million growth in consumer deposits over the quarter.

That inflow, said chief executive Alan Levan, is likely due to seasonal trends as well as positive consumer reaction to the BB&T deal. BankAtlantic agreed last fall to sell its consumer banking business to BB&T, while the two companies filed an amended agreement in mid-March.

Levan said the bank kept those deposits as cash, in light of the BB&T agreement.

“We do not believe this shortfall creates a significant issue for BankAtlantic,” Levan said in a news release. “If we did, we would have reduced our balance sheet or brought in additional capital accordingly.”

The BB&T-BankAtlantic deal still needs the approval of the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and already received an OK from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. BankAtlantic said Monday it still expects it to close by June 30, despite a new lawsuit that seeks to block the deal, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

Levan and BankAtlantic are also the subject of pending charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission, accusing the two of misleading investors on defaulting loans in its real estate portfolio.

Nonperforming assets on BankAtlantic’s books dropped to $344.1 million from $432.3 million a year earlier. Its dollar amount of bank-owned properties fell to $84.8 million from $87.2 million in the fourth quarter.


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