Islandia-based Empire Bancorp said an increase in its loan business helped first quarter net income rise nearly 79 percent to $868,000, the company said in a Monday statement.

The company also said total assets were $797 million at the end of March, a 14 percent year-over-year increase.

The parent company of Empire National Bank reported loans outstanding of $501.3 million, a 6 percent increase from the same period a year ago.

The bank has seen growth in commercial and industrial lending, said Douglas C. Manditch, chairman and chief executive at Empire Bancorp.

“We hired a commercial lender recently, so we have two now,” Manditch said. “We are looking to add one more.”

Manditch added that most of the bank’s lending business is on Long Island, where it also has four of its five branches, three in Suffolk and one in Nassau. Empire also has one branch in Manhattan.

“We could start to look generally [at branch expansion] maybe in 2018,” Manditch said. “We would probably look at Nassau next.”

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Empire shares were unchanged at $12.90 on Monday in over-the-counter trading. The company’s shares are up 33 percent in the past year.