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State Bancorp earnings bounce back

For State Bancorp, the Jericho-based owner of State Bank of Long Island, 2010 was as good as 2009 was horrible.

The company late Monday reported year-end earnings of $11.4 million, a marked improvement from the year before, when the company lost $14.8 million.

Chief executive Thomas O'Brien credited the improvement to difficult decisions made at the end of 2009, when the bank paid off $10 million in debt and sold off $55 million of bad residential construction loans for $38 million, taking a charge then of $17 million.

Since then the bank has been able to reduce the money it sets aside to cover bad loans, now that it has so many fewer of them, and cut operating expenses and increased non-interest income.

"Most of it is the result of making tough decisions last year, getting rid of problem loans," O'Brien said. "It's the payoff you look for."

O'Brien said the bank is now in great shape, with "tons of liquidity, tons of capital," and continues to look for troubled banks in the metropolitan area to acquire. The bank has assets of $1.6 billion and has 17 branches in Nassau, Suffolk, Queens and Manhattan.

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