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GLEN HEAD, N.Y., Jan. 28, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The First of Long Island Corporation (Nasdaq:FLIC) earned $18,392,000 in 2010. This is an increase of 36.6% over 2009 earnings of $13,463,000. On a per share basis, earnings for 2010 were $2.30. This is $.46 better than $1.84 per share earned in 2009. Returns on average assets and equity were 1.11% and 12.94%, respectively, for 2010 compared to .95% and 12.15%, respectively, for 2009.
Earnings for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $.46 per share, representing an increase of 53.3%, or $.16 per share, over $.30 per share earned in the same quarter last year. When comparing fourth quarter to third quarter 2010 results, earnings are down $.09 per share, or 16.4%, primarily as a result of an increase in the provision for loan losses of $725,000, the establishment of a $300,000 valuation reserve on one loan held for sale and the full quarter dilutive impact of the common stock offering that was completed July 2010. The increase in the provision for loan losses was driven by the establishment of an impairment reserve of $870,000 on one nonaccrual loan.
The large drivers of earnings per share growth in 2010 were growth in the average balances of loans and tax-exempt municipal securities and decreases in the rates paid on various categories of deposits. The positive impact of these items was partially offset by decreases in overall yield on the Bank's loan and taxable securities portfolios, expense increases attributable to the Bank's branch growth initiative and general inflation in the cost of goods and services, and the dilutive impact of the 2010 common stock offering which is estimated to be approximately $.16 per share.
On an average balance basis, loans grew by 20.6%, or $147.6 million, when comparing 2010 to 2009. Almost all of the growth occurred in commercial and residential mortgages, the average balances of which were up $92.4 million, or 29.2%, and $66.3 million, or 29.5%, respectively. A significant portion of the growth in the average balance of residential mortgages was attributable to loans originated during 2010, with the remainder attributable to loans originated in 2009. By contrast, almost all of the growth in the average balance of commercial mortgages was attributable to loans originated in 2009, with the remainder attributable to loans originated this year. The large reduction in commercial mortgage originations in 2010 was attributable to a variety of factors including, but not limited to, a deliberate reduction in originations during the first half of 2010 in order to build the Bank's ratio of capital to assets, a softening in loan demand during the latter half of 2010 and a reduction in multifamily mortgage originations throughout 2010 in an effort to diversify the Bank's commercial mortgage portfolio.