New York City-based GreenPoint Financial Corp. said it earned $33.9 million, an increase of 75%, in the fourth quarter.
The $13.3 billion-asset thrift credited the strong results to expense savings from its acquisition of 60 branches from Home Savings of America, an affiliate of H.F. Ahmanson & Co., and the sale of eight branches.
"This past year was a breakthrough for GreenPoint," said Thomas S. Johnson, chairman and chief executive. "In 1995, we made our first strategic acquisitions, and in 1996, GreenPoint began to realize the strong financial rewards."
On a per-share basis, GreenPoint earned 81 cents, compared with 42 cents in the fourth quarter of 1995.
Profits for the full year were up 23%, to $132.5 million.
GreenPoint's results were in line with analysts' earnings estimates.
Like other institutions that still rely on traditional thrift business lines, GreenPoint focuses on the origination and servicing of home mortgages. Originations totaled $2.4 billion last year, compared with $1 billion in 1995.
More than half of GreenPoint's mortgages are made to customers outside New York. In addition to Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, and Washington, where it already has a presence, GreenPoint said it plans to enter San Francisco, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, and Seattle this year.
"Despite the fact that they spent a lot of money on the geographic expansion of their products, they have done a fair job keeping down overall operating costs," said Thomas J. Romano, an analyst at McConnell Budd & Downes.
Overall, it was a successful year for GreenPoint, Mr. Romano added. "They have been able to deal with credit issues and expand the product successfully in New York and other markets, so their focus and commitment have a competitive advantage," he said.