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Bridge Bancorp earnings up 3%

Kevin O'Connor

Kevin O'Connor Credit: Newsday file

Bridge Bancorp, the company that owns Bridgehampton National Bank, reported year-end earnings late Tuesday of $9.2 million, up 3 percent from the year before.

The improvement came during a year of expansion for the bank. It opened two new branches as assets grew by 15 percent to more than $1.0 billion, lending increased by 13 percent and deposits grew by 16 percent.

"The ability to produce results while simultaneously expanding the franchise and enhancing our already rigorous risk management culture reflects the underlying strength and agility of the core franchise," company chief executive Kevin O'Connor said in a statement.

Bad loans increased by 14 percent, from $5.9 million last year to $6.7 million, although one bad loan of $2.1 million was brought current in the fourth quarter.

"While it appears that the economy is improving, we remain cautious about sustaining this positive momentum and hope for continued progress on the employment front," O'Connor said. The coming year's challenges will include higher interest rates, new regulation and possibly new competitors, he said.

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