Despite special charges and a loss on the sale of low-yielding assets, bank analysts said, Dime Bancorp's third-quarter earnings were satisfactory.

The New York City-based thrift reported earnings of $16.9 million, an 11% drop from the same period last year, while taking an after-tax charge of $15.2 million to cover payments for refinancing the Savings Association Insurance Fund.

Dime, which has $20 billion of assets, also lost $6.6 million on the sale of low-yielding assets, and it took a $3.1 million charge to cover a severance package for retiring chief executive James M. Large.

Excluding those nonrecurring charges, Dime's operating earnings rose 51%, to $20.4 million.

"They're going in the right direction," observed Kevin T. Timmons, a banking analyst at First Albany Corp. "They're trying to get a better penetration of their customer base and looking beyond having just a savings account on one side and a mortgage on the other."

Since its merger last year with Anchor Bancorp, Dime has been restructuring its balance sheet, reducing its reliance on wholesale funding and lower-yielding assets in favor of building up core deposits and higher- yielding loans.

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