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Onetime charges swing NY Community Bank to a loss

New York Community Bank headquarters in Westbury, Oct.

New York Community Bank headquarters in Westbury, Oct. 29, 2015. Photo Credit: Audrey C. Tiernan

New York Community Bancorp, the largest Long Island-based bank company by stock market value and assets, posted a loss of $404.8 million for the fourth quarter of last year, citing onetime charges related to its proposed acquisition of Astoria Bank.

Excluding onetime charges, the bank reported earnings of $145.2 million or 31 cents a share.

Also reporting earnings Wednesday was Empire Bancorp of Islandia, which has four Long Island branches and a loan office in Manhattan. It cited higher net interest income for a more than fourfold increase in net income in the three months ended Dec. 31.

Westbury-based New York Community said it lost 87 cents a share in the quarter, compared to a profit of $131.2 million or 30 cents a share in the quarter a year earlier.

The company also posted a loss of $47.2 million or 11 cents a share, for the full year.

New York Community said in October than it planned to buy Long Island’s second largest bank by stock market value, Astoria Financial Corp. of Lake Success, the parent of the 88-branch Astoria Bank.

Astoria also reported fourth quarter financials Wednesday, saying earnings declined because of the absence of a tax benefit booked in the same quarter a year earlier.

New York Community and Astoria specialize in multifamily and commercial real estate loans.

The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory and stockholder approval.

New York Community’s total assets were $50.3 billion at Dec. 31, up 3.6 percent from a year earlier.

In an action related to the Astoria deal, the bank booked a onetime debt repositioning charge in the quarter of more than $536.8 million from prepaying $10.4 billion in wholesale borrowings. The prepaid debt was replaced with financing at a lower interest rate. The bank also incurred $3.2 million of after-tax merger expenses.

President and chief executive officer Joseph R. Ficalora said in a statement, “The fourth quarter of 2015 was a pivotal time in our evolution, as we announced our plans to merge with Astoria Financial Corp. in an exciting transaction that will strengthen our earnings capacity and our capital position ...”

The bank’s shares closed Wednesday at $15.12 on the New York Stock Exchange, up 25 cents.

New York Community’s various divisions have 258 branches in five states.

Empire is the corporate parent of Empire National Bank. Its quarterly earnings were $657,000 or ten cents a share. Assets totaled $629 million at Dec. 31, up almost 24 percent from a year earlier.

Astoria said net income for the fourth quarter was $18.4 million or 16 cents a share, down 21 percent from a year earlier when $4.2 million or four cents a share of tax benefits was booked — primarily from the resolution of a tax matter with New York State and the related impact of changes in New York State tax legislation effective January 1, 2015.

Total assets at Dec. 31 were $15.1 billion, down 3.6 percent from a year earlier on a decrease in the loan portfolio.

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