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LI banks cite higher credit quality in earnings

New York Community Bancorp of Westbury, above, in

New York Community Bancorp of Westbury, above, in a photo from Dec. 6, 2013, was one of three Long Island banks that cited improved credit quality and higher net interest income in the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared with the same period a year earlier. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Two Long Island bank holding companies, Flushing Financial Corp. of Lake Success and First of Long Island Corp. of Glen Head, have reported improved first-quarter net income.

A third, New York Community Bancorp of Westbury, said its income fell due to a one-time income tax charge.

All three cited improved credit quality and higher net interest income in the three months ended March 31, compared with the same period a year earlier.

While the first-quarter results largely echo those of other local banks, First of Long Island offered a sobering analysis of business conditions, noting that interest rates remain low, price competition is tough and new regulatory requirements cost money.

"Further," it said, "commercial and residential real estate values have been negatively impacted by persistently high levels of unemployment and underemployment, the erosion of household disposable income, foreclosures and commercial vacancies."

New York Community: The largest bank headquartered on Long Island said yesterday net income in the quarter was $115.3 million, or 26 cents a share, down 2.8 percent and a penny a share from a year earlier.

Net interest income, the difference between the revenue generated from a bank's assets and the expenses associated with liabilities, rose by 12.5 percent from a year earlier to $298.7 million. Non-interest income fell by 51 percent to $37.2 million on various factors, including a decline in mortgage banking income.

Total assets grew by 7 percent to $47.6 billion.

New York Community operates under that name and others in more than 240 branches in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida, and Arizona. New York Commercial Bank has 30 branches in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Long Island, and Westchester.

First of Long Island Corp.: The parent of the 37-branch First National Bank of Long Island said Wednesday that first- quarter net income was $6 million or 64 cents a share, up 5.6 percent and two cents, respectively, from a year earlier. It attributed the improvement to a 6.1 percent increase from a year earlier in net interest income, to $16.1 million, and a 6.5 percent increase, to $1.8 million, in non-interest income.

Total assets rose by 14.5 percent to $2.4 billion.

Flushing Financial: The parent of Flushing Bank, with 17 branches in Nassau, Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan, said late Tuesday that net income was $10.3 million, or 34 cents a share, up 52.4 percent from $6.8 million, or 22 cents a share, a year earlier.

It said net interest income rose by 34 percent in the quarter from a year earlier, to $37.6 million, after provisions or benefits for loan losses.

Total assets rose by 2.1 percent from last year's first quarter, to $4.8 billion.

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