Flushing Financial 4Q earnings rise

John R. Buran, president and chief executive of

John R. Buran, president and chief executive of Flushing Financial Corp. of Lake Success. (Credit: Jeremy Bales, 2012)

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Lake Success-based Flushing Financial Corp., the parent company of Flushing Savings Bank, said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter earnings rose as customers' credit improved.

But the bank, which operates 17 branches, also said it saw early signs of financial distress in its customers following superstorm Sandy.

The bank's net income rose 12.6 percent to $9.2 million, compared with a year earlier. Earnings per share rose 11.1 percent to 30 cents.

John R. Buran, president and chief executive, cited a decline in delinquent and nonperforming loans, despite an increase in "early stage delinquencies" because of Sandy. "We are pleased to report that the fourth quarter of 2012 continued to show improvement in credit quality," Buran said.

The quarter's net interest income rose to $37.2 million, up 1.4 percent from a year earlier.

Nonperforming loans, or loans that borrowers aren't likely to repay, fell to $89.8 million, down $11 million, or 11 percent, from the third quarter.

The bank took a $2.1 million charge-off for its largest nonperforming loan, which is a construction loan. It said the charge-off reduces it exposure to $7.4 million.

The provision for loan losses, or money set aside to cover expected bad loans, totaled $5 million, unchanged from the previous quarter and down $1.5 million from a year ago.

For the year, net income fell 2.9 percent to $34.3 million. Interest income rose 1.8 percent to $150.4 million.

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