BOSTON -- Boston Bancorp, parent of South Boston Savings Bank, said it almost doubled net income in its fourth fiscal quarter, to $5.5 million, or 84 cents a share.

The quarter ended Oct. 31. In the year-earlier quarter the company earned $2.8 million, or 42 cents a share.

Net for the full fiscal year rose 41%, to $19 million, or $2.86 a share.

Boston Bancorp, which has $1.9 billion in assets, has maintained its health in a troubled region, reporting return on equity of 18.69% and return on assets of 1.15% in fiscal 1991.

Another local thrift company of similar size, Boston Five Bancorp, said last week that it had cut its loss in the fourth fiscal quarter to $3 million, from $13.6 million a year earlier.

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