Dime Community Bancshares Inc. in Brooklyn, N.Y., said that fourth-quarter profit rose, despite a decline in net interest income, because of a lower loan-loss provision.

The $4 billion-asset company reported Thursday that its quarterly earnings rose 20% from a year earlier, to $12.7 million. For the year, the bank said profit jumped 14% from 2010, to $47.3 million.

Dime's fourth-quarter loan-loss provision fell 53% from a year earlier, to $1.5 million. But nonperforming loans rose almost 29% from a year earlier, to $26 million. The company placed 10 delinquent accruing loans totaling $9.2 million on nonaccrual status during the fourth quarter.

The company said that net interest income fell 3% from a year earlier, to $34.1 million, because of lower earnings on real estate loans and mortgage-backed securities.

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