Empire Bancorp in Islandia, N.Y., posted stronger quarterly earnings after working to make loans a higher percentage of total assets.

The $515 million-asset company said in a press release Tuesday that its net income rose almost 83% from a year earlier, to $662,000. Profit for the first nine months of 2014 increased 86%, to $1.7 million.

Empire's net interest income rose almost 17%, to $4.3 million. The yield on interest-earning assets for the quarter averaged 3.81%, up 19 basis points from a year earlier, primarily attributable to a deliberate shift in asset mix to loans from investment securities. The net interest margin widened by 28 basis points, to 3.50%.

Net loans increased by more than 29%, to $346.9 million. Securities available for sale fell by roughly 19%, to $141 million, while securities held to maturity reached zero.

Noninterest expenses rose 3%, to $3.4 million. The loan-loss provision was $75,000 compared to zero a year earlier.

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