Ameribanc Investors Group, parent of Ameribanc Savings Bank, yesterday blamed problems in the real estate market for a loss of $4.4 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30. In the same quarter last year, the Annandale company earned $600,000.

Other lenders throughout the region also have been racking up losses because of the soft real estate market.

Ameribanc said it increased its loan loss reserves $7.4 million in the quarter. Reserves are funds a financial institution sets aside to cover loans it fears will go bad. Ameribanc said that it now has reserves amounting to approximately 19 percent of its nonperforming loans or about 3 percent of its total loans, not counting home mortgages.

The company said the main reason it increased its reserves was "the continued deterioration of the mid-Atlantic region real estate market and the uncertainties facing local and national markets."

Ameribanc has $1.3 billion in assets and 36 branch offices throughout Virginia.

Norfolk Southern Corp. said its third-quarter earnings declined 5 percent from the comparable 1989 period.

The Norfolk railroad company said, though, that earnings per share increased 2.3 percent because of a stock purchase program.

Net income for the third quarter was $142.9 million (89 cents a share) compared with 1989 third-quarter results of $150.5 million (87 cents).

Although income from operations was up, Chairman Arnold B. McKinnon said, fuel expenses cut into profit, as did a write-down of the company's securities portfolio and debt incurred to buy back stock.

Vie de France Corp., the McLean restaurant and bakery company, lost $1.3 million in the most recent quarter.

The company had a loss of $286,000 in the same quarter of last year.

Chairman Jean-Louis Vilgrain blamed the results on continuing losses at the company's restaurant division and start-up costs for its sous vide operation. Sous vide is a new way of preserving prepared food for sale to hotels and restaurants.

Revenue in the quarter was $22.9 million, up about 3 percent from $22.3 million in the year-ago period.

ERC Environmental and Energy Services Co. of Fairfax reported that profit in the third quarter was up about 35 percent to $1.5 million (26 cents a share) from $1.1 million (20 cents) a year ago.

Revenue was up 20 percent to $23.1 million from $19.1 million.

President Mark J. Elliott said, "We have seen no indication of a downturn in our business as a result of current economic conditions. We are encouraged by the signs of strong momentum in our business."

As its name suggests, ERC provides environmental and engineering consulting services.

CFS Financial Corp. of Fairfax, the parent of Continental Federal Savings Bank, lost $2.5 million in the most recent quarter because of increased write-offs to cover potential loan losses. In the same quarter last year, the company earned $822,000.

President Allan R. Plumley Jr. said that the write-offs, which amounted to $4.2 million in the quarter, were because of deteriorating economic conditions in the area, not because of requests from regulators.

Continental Federal has assets of $1.1 billion and operates 25 banking offices in Northern Virginia.

Harman International Industries Inc., which makes stereo speakers, said its profit fell in the quarter ended Sept. 30 because people aren't buying as many automobiles and other expensive goods.

The Washington company is the nation's largest maker of audio loudspeakers; a substantial part of its market is car stereos.

Net income fell almost 72 percent to $969,000 (11 cents a share) from $3.4 million (40 cents) in the year-ago quarter. Revenue was up 12 percent to $131.6 million from $118 million.