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Earnings at Astoria surge

Monte Redman

Monte Redman Photo Credit: Jim Peppler

Astoria Financial Corp., the Lake Success company that owns Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association, reported third quarter income of $21.5 million -- more than two and half times what it made in the same quarter a year ago -- even as its assets and loans shrank.

In a statement, company chairman and chief executive George L. Engelke Jr. said the improved earnings were the result of fewer bad loans and delinquencies. Bad loans totaled $399.6 million at the end of the quarter, a decrease of $15.5 million from the previous quarter. That allowed the company to set aside $20 million for potential loan losses -- $15 million less than in the previous quarter and $30 million less than a year ago.

However, the company's total assets shrank to $17.7 billion, down from $19.0 billion at the end of last year.

Company president Monte Redman, above left, said that's largely the result of agencies like the Federal Housing Administration offering low rates on 30-year mortgages that Astoria isn't willing to match, either by cutting its rates or by loosening underwriting standards. "That is the entire problem with the balance sheet shrinking," he said.

Astoria has 85 branches in the metropolitan area.

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