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First National Bank net income rises

A First National Bank of Long Island branch

A First National Bank of Long Island branch on East Merrick Road in Valley Stream in 2012. Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

Higher net interest and other income pushed net earnings up by 2.5 percent at First National Bank of Long Island during last year's fourth quarter from a year earlier, its parent corporation said Thursday.

Glen Head-based First of Long Island Corp., whose bank has 37 branches on Long Island and in Manhattan, said net income for the quarter was $5.2 million, or 56 cents a diluted share, up from $5.1 million and the same amount per share a year earlier.

The bank attributed the higher net income to an 8.2 percent rise, to $16.1 million, in net interest income, the difference between the revenue generated from a bank's assets and the expenses associated with liabilities, and an 11 percent increase, to $1.8 million, in noninterest income.

But the bank also cited increases in noninterest expense, its provision for loan losses and income tax expense. It said the low interest rate environment limited the increase in net interest income, despite growth in deposits.

It said its net interest margin, a measure of the difference between the interest a bank earns on its assets such as loans and the interest it pays out to depositors, fell by 16 basis points to 3.18 percent for all of last year.

"The bank is continuing to pursue additional sites for future branch expansion," it said Thursday.

Total assets were up by 14 percent, to $2.4 billion, at year's end.

First of Long Island opened branches last year in Massapequa Park and Sayville and has said it plans to open two more, in Oceanside and Manhasset, in the latter part of this year.

First of Long Island's shares closed at $40.38, up 31 cents, Thursday on the Nasdaq Market.

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