We will have introductory remarks today from Mr. John Millman, President of Sterling Bancorp; and Mr. John Tietjen, Chief Financial Officer. After their remarks, we’ll open up the call for your questions.
And with that, I’d like to turn the call over to Mr. Millman.
Thank you, Ed, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to our conference call for the second quarter ended June 30 th, 2011. Strong business growth and solid asset quality were the two main themes for Sterling in the 2011 second quarter. Our performance clearly shows that we are gaining share in a resilient dynamic market leading to expanded business with existing clients and a significant number of new customer relationships. These market share gains are reflected in double-digit growth in loans, deposits and total assets.At the same time, we are experiencing strong asset quality metrics. Net charge-offs were $2.5 million for the second quarter, half the level of the year ago period. Our allowance for loan losses covered non-accruals by 323% as of June 30 th, 2011. Now let me review some of the specific highlights of the 2011 second quarter. Net income was $3.9 million, an increase of 32% from the year ago quarter. This represents a continuation of the strong, positive momentum we demonstrated in the first quarter of this year. As you know, we fully redeemed the TARP preferred shares and warrants in the second quarter. This action was reflected in net income available to common shareholders, as we incurred accelerated accretion of $1.2 million or about $0.04 per share. Including the accelerated accretion, net income available to common shareholders was $2.5 million for the 2011 second quarter, an increase of 8% from the prior year . It is important to note that we had a sharply higher average share count this quarter with shares outstanding up $4.7 million or 18% due to our successful March 2011 common share offering. Including our previous common share offering in 2010, we have raised over $100 million in additional equity in the past 15 months and significantly to our already strong capital foundation. With the effect of the higher share count being partially offset by earnings growth, earnings per diluted share were basically stable with the year ago period, $0.08 for the second quarter 2011 versus $0.09 for 2010.