Astoria Financial (AF) in Lake Success, N.Y., posted a higher third-quarter profit as improved credit quality more than offset lower mortgage revenue.

The $16 billion-asset company's earnings rose 10% from a year earlier, to $14.7 million, or 15 cents a share.

Astoria's net interest income was flat from a year earlier, at $86.2 million. A 25% decline in residential mortgage loans was offset by an increase in multifamily and commercial real estate loans. The company's net interest margin widened by 19 basis points from a year earlier, to 2.28%.

The company had noticeable improvement in asset quality; its loan-loss provisions fell 74% from a year earlier, to $2.5 million. Net charge-offs fell 63% from a year earlier, to $3.4 million.

Noninterest income fell 8% from a year earlier, to $15.3 million, because of lower customer service fees and reduced income from bank-owned life insurance. General and administrative expenses were basically unchanged from a year earlier, at $72.5 million.

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