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First of Long Island, Empire report strong earnings

Empire National Bank at 1707 Veterans Hwy. in

Empire National Bank at 1707 Veterans Hwy. in Islandia on Oct. 23, 2012. Credit: Heather Walsh

Higher net interest income produced strong increases in second-quarter earnings at First of Long Island Corp. and Empire Bancorp, the companies reported Monday.

First of Long Island, the Glen Head-based parent of the First National Bank of Long Island, said its net income in the quarter that ended June 30 rose from a year earlier by 13.2 percent to $6.3 million, while earnings per share rose from 40 to 44 cents. The gains came despite the negative impact on earnings of New York City income tax law changes, which resulted in a one-time charge of $440,000 or 3 cents a share, the company said.

Net interest income rose in the quarter by 13.1 percent from a year earlier to $18.5 million on higher loan balances and nontaxable securities.

Total assets at June 30 were $2.83 billion, up 12 percent from a year earlier.

First National Bank of Long Island has 41 branches, most on Long Island and one in Manhattan. Its shares rose 2.9 percent Monday to close at $26.81.

The bank targets small- and middle-market businesses and professionals such as doctors, dentists, lawyers and CPAs, although it serves consumers as well.

It is expanding into Queens, with plans to open its first branch there Oct. 1 in Howard Beach and have eight to 12 Queens branches in operation within the next five to six years.

Empire Bancorp, based in Islandia and the parent of the four-branch Empire National Bank, said it earned $667,000 or 10 cents a share in the second quarter, up 8.6 percent from a year earlier.

Total assets were $517 million at June 30, 5.4 percent more than a year earlier, mostly on higher loan balances.

Net interest income was up 17 percent, to $5 million. The bank's shares closed unchanged Monday at $9.02.

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