Sterling Bancorp of New York said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter net income fell 4.8% from a year earlier, to $4 million, primarily because of a slowdown in mortgage originations, but it was a strong quarter by most other measures.

The $2.1 billion-asset company attributed a 13% increase in net interest income to higher average loan and investments securities balances and lower funding costs. Its net interest margin for the quarter rose 18 basis points from a year earlier, to 4.50%.

Though Sterling's net chargeoffs in the quarter increased 63% from a year earlier, to $1.9 million, and nonperforming assets rose 16%, to $7.4 million, its ratio of nonperforming assets to total assets at Dec. 31 remained unchanged at 0.40%.

The company continues to be "an active lender throughout the current economic cycle," Louis J. Capelli, its chairman and chief executive, said in a news release.

Sterling received $42 million of capital from the Treasury Department last month and Mr. Capelli said it has already originated new commercial and home equity loans in excess of that amount, mostly to new customers whose prior lenders "may have been unable or unwilling to meet their needs in this environment."

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