Astoria Financial 4Q profit up 43%

Astoria said superstorm Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, Astoria said superstorm Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, cost it $1.3 million -- in repairs to branches, relief donations and waived banking fees. Photo Credit: Handout

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Astoria Financial Corp., one of Long Island's largest banking companies, said its profit rose by 43 percent in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, mostly on the gain from a preferred stock sale.

Astoria, parent of the 85-branch Astoria Federal Savings and Loan and headquartered in Lake Success, said net income was $16.9 million, or 17 cents a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. It earned $11.8 million, or 12 cents, a year earlier.

For the year ended Dec. 31, 2012, net income was $53.1 million, or 55 cents a share, down 21 percent from $67.2 million and 70 cents a share a year earlier.

The fourth quarter figures include a $3.9-million, or four cents a share after-tax gain from the sale of Astoria's entire holdings of Freddie Mac preferred stock.

The full year total also included a $1.4-million charge for executive retirement costs, a $2.2-million charge for employee severance expenses and a $785,000 charge for debt extinguishment -- all after tax.

Astoria said superstorm Sandy, which struck Oct. 29, cost it $1.3 million -- in repairs to branches, relief donations and waived banking fees.

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The banking company said delinquent loans continued to decline but that it raised its provision for loan losses in the final quarter by $900,000 to $10.9 million.

It said that net interest margin -- the difference between the interest a bank earns on its assets, such as loans and investments, and what it pays out to depositors -- rose to 2.21 percent from 2.20 percent a year earlier.

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