Two New York-area thrifts reported sharp increases in second-quarter earnings Monday, highlighting the likelihood that both companies will be stronger players in a rapidly consolidating market.

Dime Bancorp reported $23.8 million in net income for the quarter ended June 30, a significant jump from the $4.2 million it earned during the same period last year.

Astoria FinancialCorp., the parent company of Astoria Federal Savings and Loan Association, posted similar gains, with net income of $10.8 million for the quarter compared to a loss of $4.4 million during the same period last year.

The Dime credited reduced provisions for loans losses, an increase in operating earnings before taxes to $11.8 million from $5.061 million, and $12 million in tax benefits for most of its improvement.

Astoria Cuts Bad loans

At Astoria, a sizable reduction in nonperforming assets helped significantly. Nonperforming assets declined to $112.6 million at June 30, compared with $139.7 million a year ago.

The Dime's provisions for loan losses fell to $6.1 million from $9.04 million in the same quarter last year, while net interest income rose 20% to $60 million, mainly as a result of a rise in mortgage and consumer lending.

Nonperforming assets at the Dime totaled $335.7 million, up $5.2 million for the quarter, but declined to 3.47% of total assets from 3.53% at March 31 and 9.72% a year ago.

Net income for the first half of the year reached $42 million, compared with a $1.8 million loss for the first six months last year.

'Improving Condition'

Richard D. Parsons, Dime's chairman and chief executive, acknowledged that more than half of quarterly earnings came from "recognition of deferred tax assets."

However, Mr. Parsons emphasized that the combination of "increased net interest income and significantly reduced credit expenses" reflected Dime's "improving condition and earning power."

Like other thrifts and banks, Dime was hard hit by the downturn in real estate prices in the late 1980s and early 1990s and did not move back into the black until 1992.

Thomas F. Theurkauf Jr., an analyst with Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. in New York, said results at the $9.6 billion-asset retail and mortgage bank were "broadly in line with expectations."

He and others predicted that declining provisions for problem loans and Dime's proposed merger with Anchor Bancorp, Inc., will further boost profitability.

Dime, which runs 34 branches in New York though its subsidiary, Dime Savings Bank of New York FSB, announced earlier this month that it was planning to merge with $8.4 billion-asset Anchor Bancorp, another large New York City savings bank.

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