GLEN HEAD, N.Y., July 12, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The First of Long Island Corporation (Nasdaq:FLIC) earned $1.31 per share for the first half of 2010, an increase of $.30, or 29.7%, over $1.01 per share earned in the same period last year. Net income increased by $2,287,000, or 31.2%, from $7,336,000 for the first half of 2009 to $9,623,000 for the current six month period. Returns on average assets (ROA) and equity (ROE) were 1.19% and 15.90%, respectively, for the first six months of 2010 as compared to 1.14% and 13.85% for the same period last year. Earnings for the second quarter of 2010 were $.68 per share versus $.63 per share for the first quarter. The increase for the quarter is primarily attributable to an increase in gains on sales of securities of $587,000 which contributed $.05 to per share earnings.
Earnings for the first half of 2010 grew primarily due to growth in loans and tax-exempt securities and, to a much lesser extent, growth in taxable securities. Loan growth occurred as part of management's efforts to improve the Bank's current and future earnings prospects by making loans a larger portion of the overall balance sheet. The Bank was able to increase the size of its tax-exempt securities portfolio at what management believes to be attractive yields and, because of a provision in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, without the usual limitations imposed by the federal alternative minimum tax. The growth in taxable securities was principally in short duration mortgage securities that are full faith and credit obligations of the U.S. government. While not a significant contributor to current earnings, management believes that these securities enhance the Bank's liquidity position and will protect the Bank's earnings in the event of an increase in interest rates. Also contributing to earnings growth was a $772,000 increase in gains on sales of available-for-sale securities and the fact that the second quarter of 2009 included an FDIC special assessment of $647,000. The proceeds of the sales made in 2010, which amounted to $78.5 million, were used to repay overnight borrowings. Because the after tax impact of the gains increased the Bank's total capital and the repayment of borrowings reduced the overall size of the Bank's balance sheet, the Bank's Tier 1 leverage capital ratio improved. The repayment of overnight borrowings should also serve to reduce the potential adverse impact of an increase in interest rates.