Suffolk Bancorp (SUBK) swung to a profit in the first quarter as the Riverhead, N.Y., company continued to shed the problem assets that dogged it for much of 2011.

The $1.5 billion-asset Suffolk said Friday that it earned $1.2 million, or 12 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared to a loss of $7.6 million, or 78 cents per share, in last year's first quarter. It attributed the results primarily to a $20 million decrease in its loan-loss provision stemming from ongoing workout efforts that have helped to sharply reduce chargeoffs.

Last summer Suffolk said it had identified problems in its accounting of loan losses and, after a four-month internal review, it restated its earnings for the second half of 2010 and first quarter of 2011. Following the restatement, the company shook up its management  ranks, bringing in a new chief executive, a new chief financial officer and a new chief lending officer.

Still, credit quality remains a concern. Its ratio of nonaccrual loans to total loans has more than doubled in the last year, to 8.85%, and the ratio of accruing loans that are at least 30 days past due rose 71 basis points year over year, 2.65%, though that is down from 3.56% at Dec. 31.

"We expect to continue an aggressive credit remediation posture throughout 2012 on both the nonaccrual and criticized and classified loan pools and expect to see additional improvements in credit quality as the year progresses," Howard C. Bluver, Suffolk's president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. 

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