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Astoria Financial income falls as portfolio shifts

Astoria Financial Corp., one of Long Island's largest banking companies, said Wednesday its second quarter net income fell by almost 23.8 percent from a year earlier, but it cited significant improvements in finances from the first to the second quarter.

The Lake Success-based parent of the 85-branch Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association said its net income was $12.8 million, or 13 cents a share, for the quarter ended June 30, compared to $16.8 million, or 18 cents a year earlier.

Net interest income fell by 9 percent, to $86.7 million in the quarter from a year earlier.

But chief executive Monte Redman said year-over-year comparisons are misleading because the bank has been in the process of shifting its focus from residential lending to multifamily residential and commercial mortgages. "Comparing ourselves to last year is not comparing apples to apples," he said.

The bank cited an 18 percent increase from March 31 to June 30 on an annualized basis in savings, money market and checking accounts, to $6.2 billion. It also said its multifamily and commercial real estate loan portfolio increased by $361.2 million, or 58 percent annualized, and that loans 30 days or more past due and owned real estate decreased 14 percent annualized, from March 31 to $539.1 million as of June 30.

General and administrative expenses for the second quarter fell by 12 percent from the previous quarter to $72.1 million, primarily due to reduced compensation and benefits expense.

Total assets increased by $551.4 million from December 31, 2011, and totaled $17.6 billion as of June 30.

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