Regions Financial Corp. (RF) earned $17 million, or 1 cent per share, in the first quarter, marking its second consecutive quarterly profit amid improving credit trends. The bank said it continues to see profitability as net charge-offs and nonperforming loans decline. Earnings are down from the $36 million, or 3 cents a share, it earned last quarter but up from a loss of  $196 million or 16 cents a share in the year-ago period. The Birmingham, Ala.-based regional bank, which serves the South, Midwest and Texas, reported revenue of $539 million, up from $413 million in the year-ago period. Regions said the net interest margin continued to expand, low-cost deposits increased, middle market commercial and industrial lending continued to grow and regulatory capital increased. “We’re making solid headway towards sustainable profitability and key credit metrics continue to improve,” said Grayson Hall, president and chief executive officer. “The economic recovery is slow — especially in our southeastern markets — but our focus on customers is paying off." Hall said the bank is also "expediently and prudently" dealing with more stressed credit portfolios. The company’s inflows of nonperforming loans declined 23% versus the previous quarter, as the main driver was a $168 million or 64% decline in inflows of land, condo and single family loans. Its nonperforming assets, including foreclosed homes, was 4.78% of its loans, down from 5.13% in the comparable period a year ago. Regions made new or renewed loan commitments totaling $13.3 billion during the first quarter, primarily driven by residential first mortgage production and lending to commercial customers, including those operating small businesses. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.