NY Community Bancorp, Suffolk Bancorp report earnings

New York Community Bancorp, the largest banking company

New York Community Bancorp, the largest banking company based on Long Island, and Suffolk Bancorp, based in Riverhead, both reported higher earnings. Photo Credit: iStock

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New York Community Bancorp, the largest banking company based on Long Island, said Wednesday that increased lending helped it eke out a small gain in earnings in the first quarter, despite pressure on interest income from low rates.

Separately, Suffolk Bancorp, based in Riverhead, said its net income more than doubled in the first quarter.

Westbury-based New York Community earned $118.7 million in the three months ended March 31, up a fraction of a percent from a year earlier. Earnings per share were unchanged at 27 cents.

New York Community cited growth in loans held for investment, which rose at an annualized rate of 12.2 percent to $28.1 billion. That growth, it said, was driven by the bank's multifamily loan portfolio, which grew at an annualized rate of 13.4 percent, to $19.2 billion at the end of the quarter.

New York Community said total assets rose $366.6 million in the quarter from Dec. 31, to $44.5 billion.

The bank said its net interest income fell by 4.6 percent from a year earlier, to $275.2 million, while net interest margin, the difference between interest earned on assets such as loans and what it pays to depositors, dropped to 2.95 percent from 3.24 percent a year earlier.

New York Community operates through two bank subsidiaries with a total of 275 branches in five states.

Suffolk Bancorp, the parent of the Suffolk County National Bank, said net income rose to $2.7 million or 23 cents a share, from $1.2 million or 12 cents a share a year earlier. The bank has 30 branches, all in Suffolk County, and said it is seeking expansion opportunities in Nassau.

Suffolk Bancorp said earnings got a boost from higher noninterest income, mostly from the sale of loans; a lower effective tax rate; and reduced operating expenses from, among other things, lower pension costs from freezing its defined contribution benefits plan at the end of last year. Net interest income fell by 3.7 percent to $13.7 million.

Suffolk said its total assets rose 7.5 percent from March of last year, to $1.6 billion.

Both banks released results in the morning. New York Community shares closed at $13.32, down 23 cents on the New York Stock Exchange. Suffolk's shares, traded on the Nasdaq market, closed at $15.04, up 79 cents.

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