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Flushing Financial 3Q net earnings at $9.4M

Flushing Financial Corp. of Lake Success said Tuesday its third-quarter earnings rose on loan growth and improved credit quality.

Net earnings totaled $9.4 million, up 6 percent from a year earlier. Earnings per share were 32 cents, a penny higher.

The holding company for the 17-branch Flushing Bank, with $4.7 billion in assets, said nonperforming loans, at $61.2 million in the quarter ended Sept. 30, were at their lowest level since June 2009.

The bank said its provision for loan losses in the quarter was 31.3 percent lower than a year earlier.

However, 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, decreased 24 basis points from a year earlier.

The bank said that in the current environment of low interest rates, "new loans and securities are being added at rates well below our portfolio average yield, and higher yielding loans and securities are prepaid."

Loan originations were a record $262.2 million, an increase of 73.7 percent from a year earlier. The bank said originations were focused on multifamily and commercial business loans.

John R. Buran, president and chief executive, termed the period "a strong quarter," citing the improved credit quality, reduced provision for loan losses and the sale of nonperforming loans.

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