If Joseph Ficalora ever writes a book about how New York Community Bancorp Inc. has fared better than most rivals in the recession, he might call it "A Tale of Two Banks."

"In 'the worst of times,' we lend more money on favorable terms. Unlike the banking sector as a whole, we actually do best during a credit cycle downturn," the chairman and chief executive of the $42.2 billion-asset lender said in an interview last week. "We are on the verge of a 'best of times' for us."

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