Shares for Sterling Bancorp in Montebello, N.Y., rose after the company posted stronger quarterly income tied to its merger with Provident New York Bancorp.

The $7.3 billion-asset Sterling said Monday after the market closed that net income for the period that ended June 30 rose 135%, to $15 million, from a year earlier. Earnings per share of 18 cents fell a penny short of the estimates of analysts polled by Bloomberg. Sterling's shares were trading at $11.93 Tuesday midday, up almost 2% from Monday's closing.

Net interest income for the company's fiscal year third quarter was up 106%, to $58.5 million, mainly because of higher average loans and investment securities balances. The company's net interest margin increased 38 basis points, to 3.84%, from the same period a year ago.

Total loans, including loans held for sale, nearly doubled from a year earlier, to $4.6 billion. Commercial loan balances accounted for $3.7 billion of this total volume.

The results were for the second full quarter since Sterling merged with Provident last year. Provident acquired Sterling in October for $344 million but the new company retained the Sterling name.

"We continue to focus on diversifying and improving our revenue mix," Jack Kopnisky, chief executive of Sterling Bancorp, said in a press release. "We have a significant opportunity to grow our specialty lending business, which we anticipate will allow us to grow fee income and increase the proportion of fee income."

Noninterest income rose 105%, to $13.5 million. This increase was attributed to higher fees from service charges on deposits and from the factoring and payroll finance businesses. Mortgage banking income soared by 349%, to $1.9 million.

Noninterest expenses increased 106%, to $44.9 million, due to compensation and benefits as well as occupancy costs more than doubling year over year because of the Provident merger. Professional fees were up 220%, to $1.7 million.

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