Dime Community Bancshares (DCOM) in Brooklyn, N.Y., reported a small increase in quarterly profit.

The $4 billion-asset company's first-quarter net income rose 4% from a year earlier, to $10.6 million. Per-share earnings of 30 cents missed analysts' expectations by 2 cents.

Noninterest income rose 6% from a year earlier, to $1.9 million, including a $110,000 increase in securities gains and lower impairment charges. Noninterest expense fell less than 1% from a year earlier, to $16.3 million, as the expense of Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. premiums fell slightly.

Net interest income dipped 3% from the first quarter of 2012, to $32.3 million, even though the net interest margin fell 11 basis points, to 3.44%. Average interest-earning assets fell 2% from a year earlier, to $3.8 billion.

Dime's asset quality improved. Nonperforming loans fell 45% from a year earlier, to $8.2 million. Net chargeoffs totaled $177,000, or more than $2 million lower than a year earlier. The loan-loss provision fell $1.3 million from a year earlier, to $157,000.

"We remain extremely pleased with both the credit strength of our existing loan portfolio, with non-performing loans totaling less than one-forth of one percent of all portfolio loans at quarter end, and the underlying strengthening of the real estate marketplace in general," Dime Community Bancshares Chairman and Chief Executive Vincent Palagiano said in a press release.

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