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LI banks report mixed 1Q earnings

Bridge Bancorp, parent of Bridgehampton National Bank, said higher interest income and lower loan loss provisions pushed its first quarter profit up 6 percent from a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Empire National Bank, based in Islandia, said income fell by almost 30 percent in the quarter on higher taxes.

Bridge, headquartered in Bridgehampton, said net income in the three months ended March 31 was $3.1 million, up from $2.9 million a year earlier, and unchanged at 35 cents a share.

Net interest income rose by $528,000 to $11.9 million from a year earlier, but the net interest margin fell to 3.29 percent from 3.7 percent. Net interest income and net interest margin represent the difference between what a bank earns on its assets and what it pays depositors.

The bank's provision for loan losses was $600,000, down $300,000 from a year earlier, reflecting, the bank said, "a slowly improving economy and continuing stable asset quality trends."

Total assets were $1.58 billion at March 31, up 14 percent from a year earlier. Bridgehampton has 22 branches.

Empire, which has four branches, said its assets were $441.6 million at the end of the quarter, up 13.4 percent from a year earlier.

Net income was $251,000 or six cents a share, down from $357,000 or eight cents a share. The five-year-old bank said this is the first year its income is fully taxable.

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