NEW YORK - Standard & Poor's said Monday it has upgraded its rating for North Fork Bancorp of Melville, N.Y., to "positive" from "stable."

The rating was improved because of North Fork's strong core profitability measures, its historically sound funding profile and efficient operations, continued asset quality improvement, and satisfactory but fluctuating capital measures, Standard & Poor's said.

If the bank maintains its earnings and asset quality and improves its capitalization, Standard & Poor's could upgrade the rating again, the agency said.

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