Astoria Financial Profit Rises on Improve Credit Quality

Astorial Financial in Lake Success, N.Y., reported higher quarterly profits because of improved credit quality.

The $15.8-billion-asset company's earnings rose 7% from a year earlier, to $18 million. At 18 cents, earnings per share were 3 cents higher than the average estimate of analysts polled by Bloomberg.

Astoria's net interest income fell less than 1% from a year earlier, to $86.8 million. Declines in income from residential mortgages were partially offset by lower funding costs and an uptick in revenue from multifamily and commercial real estate mortgage.

The net interest margin widened by 10 basis points from a year earlier, to 2.21%.

Noninterest income plummeted 19% from a year, to $17.4 million. Astoria said the decline was because of a decrease in securities gains. An increase in mortgage banking income, including a $2.3 million partial recovery of the mortgage-servicing rights valuation allowance, helped counter the downturn in noninterest income.

General and administrative expenses for the quarter fell 6% from a year earlier, to $69 million. The lower expenses were because of a decline in Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. premium expense and decreased advertising costs.

Astoria's loan-loss provision fell by 68% from a year earlier, to $3.4 million, and net loan chargeoffs fell 47%, to $7.4 million.

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