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LI banks report mixed results after rocky 2009

Several Long Island banks reported earnings Wednesday, with mixed results after a turbulent year.

State Bancorp, the Jericho holding company that owns State Bank of Long Island, reported a net loss of $14.8 million for the year, but that was expected after the bank's efforts to rid itself of bad loans. The bank had $7 million of bad loans on its books as of the end of 2009, compared with $35 million on Sept. 30.

Bank president and chief executive Tom O'Brien said he was relieved that the company has emerged in good shape after a difficult period.

"We cleaned up a lot of troubled loans that were going to be trouble for a year or two," O'Brien said. "We take our medicine and move on."

The bank is otherwise strong and is now in a position to grow, he added.

New York Community Bank, based in Westbury, capped a year of strong earnings that ended with last month's acquisition of AmTrust, a failed Ohio bank that has branches in that state, Arizona and Florida, all new markets for New York Community Bank.

In part because of the $11-billion acquisition, the bank ended 2009 with earnings up $68 million, up 66.5 percent from the previous year.

Because the bank acquired none of the toxic loans that helped bring down AmTrust, its percentage of bad loans - already low compared to its peers - declined further. Its strength allowed the bank to raise almost $865 million in a stock offering last month, said bank chairman, president and chief executive Joseph Ficalora in a statement.

Bridgehampton National Bank also continued to make loans, contributing to net income of $8.8 million for the year, the same as the previous year, and $897 million in assets, up 17 percent from 2008.

"We're certainly one of the local banks making money," said Kevin O'Connor, the bank's president and chief executive. He said he felt the bank and the region were poised to have a good year as the economy improves.

At Flushing Financial Corp. in Lake Success, net income for the year was $25.6 million, up 14.8 percent from 2008.

President and chief executive John Buran said the bank paid back money from the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program while raising capital and keeping its percentage of bad loans low.

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