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NYCB CEO: Open to big deal after Astoria buy falls through

The president of New York Community Bank, its

The president of New York Community Bank, its Westbury headquarters seen above, says the company is open to a big acquisition just one month after a merger with Astoria Financial fell through. Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

New York Community Bancorp president and chief executive Joseph R. Ficalora said Wednesday that the company is open to making a big acquisition.

His statement, made in the company’s fourth-quarter earnings release, comes one month after Westbury-based NYCB’s merger with Astoria Financial was called off. The two financial institutions have not said why the deal was scrapped.

Had the merger gone through, NYCB would have been designated a “systemically important financial institution,” or SIFI. A bank is designated a SIFI if its failure would cause significant disruption to the economy.

The bank will operate below the SIFI threshold for now, Ficalora said.

But he didn’t rule out another acquisition.

“A large deal is still the best way for us to become a SIFI, and we remain encouraged by the reality that 97 percent of the votes cast by our investors were voted in favor of the Astoria deal,” Ficalora said. “Accordingly, it still would be fair to expect our transition to SIFI status to occur in conjunction with a transaction of some size.”

Ficalora added that NYCB was “monitoring any changes in the regulatory landscape.”

The company said its net income for the fourth quarter hit $113.7 million, compared with a $404.8 million loss in the same period a year ago, caused by a debt repositioning charge.

The bank ended 2016 with about $49 billion in assets.

NYCB shares closed down 6.7 percent to $15.06. Its shares are up 1.35 percent from a year ago.


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