North Fork Bancorp was close to a deal Friday to buy JSB Financial Inc., a $1.6 billion-asset thrift based in Lynbrook, N.Y., for about $600 million, sources said. An announcement could come today.

Rumors have swirled for weeks that JSB, the parent of Jamaica Savings Bank FSB, was collecting bids from a half-dozen New York-area institutions. Sources familiar with the situation said JSB narrowed down its candidates over the last two weeks, with North Fork, Greenpoint Financial Corp., Astoria Financial Corp., and Dime Bancorp as finalists. Late last week, $11.5 billion-asset North Fork emerged as the front-runner.

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