New York Community Bancorp may have put the brakes on overall balance sheet growth, but its commercial and industrial lending operation in Boston is thriving.

Commenting during the Westbury, N.Y., company's third-quarter earnings conference call Wednesday, Chief Financial Officer Thomas R. Cangemi said he expects the size of the Boston loan book to hit $1 billion by the end of 2015. The $48.7 billion-asset New York Community began making loans in the Boston area in mid-2013.

"We're very pleased with the results there," Cangemi said. "Growth has been significant and the credit quality has been pristine."

Overall, the company reported net income of $120.3 million, up 5% from the same period last year. Total revenue of $468.4 million was actually down 2% from a year ago, but tight expense control and lower credit costs helped offset the decline.

Excluding covered loans, nonperforming assets totaled $145 million, or 0.31% of noncovered assets. The company did not record a loan-loss provision, compared to a $5 million provision a year ago. It also reported a year-over-year decrease of $3 million in noninterest expenses.

The big news, however, continues to center around New York Community's effort to hold assets below $50 billion. Assets grew just $75 million — 0.15% — on a linked-quarter basis and Chief Executive Officer Joseph R. Ficalora said during the call that the growth pause could continue "a couple of years" as New York Community seeks a "well-designed transaction that is highly accretive to earnings" to push it past the $50 billion threshold.

"We've got a unique ability to perform at the level you see here without growth," Ficalora said on a conference call Wednesday.

Reaching $50 billion of assets would qualify the company as a systemically important financial institution, triggering significantly enhanced oversight by federal banking regulators.

While New York Community is determined to cross the $50 billion threshold on its own terms, Congemi said the company has already built most of the infrastructure it will need once it gets there. He said Wednesday the company has spent more than $30 million on compliance over the past three-and-one half-years and that any additional expenses would be "immaterial."

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