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Flushing Financial, Bridge report earnings

Flushing Financial Corp. president and chief executive John

Flushing Financial Corp. president and chief executive John Buran. Credit: Handout

Flushing Financial Corp. and Bridge Bancorp Inc. Tuesday reported mixed third-quarter financial results.

Flushing, the Lake Success-based corporate parent of the 17-branch Flushing Savings Bank, said net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 was $9.4 million, down 7.7 percent from a year earlier. Earnings per share were down by 6.1 percent, to 31 cents. John R. Buran, president and chief executive, cited an improvement in credit quality during the quarter. "We saw reductions in delinquent loans, non-performing loans, and classified loans," he said in a statement.

Flushing said non-performing loans fell by 10 percent, to $100.8 million, from the second quarter of this year. Buran said the bank sold 28 non-performing loans worth a total of $17.6 million in the quarter, realizing $14.4 million, or 82 percent of book value. He said the bank had agreed to sell another $9.8 million of loans in the current quarter of 2012.

The bank said its net interest margin -- the difference between the interest a bank earns on its assets such as loans and investments and what it pays out to depositors -- was 3.62 percent in this year's third quarter, up from 3.60 percent a year earlier. Flushing said net interest income was $37.6 million for the quarter, up 1.3 percent from a year earlier. It said its provision for loan losses, $5 million, was the same in this year's and last year's third quarter.

Flushing's 17 branches are in Brooklyn and Queens, except for one in Manhattan and two in Nassau County.

Bridge Bancorp, parent of the 21-branch Bridgehampton National Bank, said net income rose by 21 percent in the quarter from a year earlier, to $3.4 million, or 39 cents a share. The bank noted that last year's results for the quarter included $100,000 in after-tax costs to acquire the Hamptons State Bank.

The per-share earnings are lower than last year's 41 cents a share for the third quarter, reflecting a higher share count associated with $24 million in capital raised in the fourth quarter of last year.

"For 2012, the increase in net income reflects growth in net interest income, lower credit costs, and securities gains, partially offset by higher non-interest expenses," the bank said in a statement.

Net interest income rose 2.6 percent to $11.8 million, but net interest margin fell from 4.04 percent in last year's third quarter to 3.55 percent this year.

Both banks released their financial statements after the markets closed. Flushing's shares closed at $16.06, up three cents, while Bridge shares closed at $20.15, up 31 cents, both on the Nasdaq Market.

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