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Sterling Bancorp's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Our credit metrics remained very sound. Net charge-offs were $10.2 million for the full year, down from $29.6 million in 2010. The allowance from loan losses as a percentage of non-accrual loans was 315% at December 31st, 2011, up from 275% a year ago. Non-performing assets were 0.33% of total assets at December 31st, 2011 compared to 0.29% a year ago. At the end of the fourth quarter, our Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 12.61%, total risk-based capital was 13.71% and Tier I leverage ratio was 9.20.

Our tangible common equity ratio was 8.01% at December 31st, 2011. We strengthened our capital base with a public equity offering in March, 2011 as well as our retention of earnings. As a result, we were able to fully redeem the TARP preferred shares and warrants while continuing to have a solid capital foundation to respond to growth opportunities.

Sterling’s performance in the past year benefited from our unique business model and focused growth strategies. And we believe these strengths will continue to drive profitable growth in the future. We have remained committed to providing financial solutions for our customers including many small to mid-sized businesses, their owners and employees.

This segment has consistently been Sterling’s target market for decades. As a result of this commitment, we have continued to build new customer relationships and expand our existing client accounts. Our growth, including double-digit increases in loans and deposits has benefited from our strong resilient market, which is primarily the New York Metropolitan Area and beyond.

While we have seen some increase in competition for our target market, the type of customers that we traditionally serve, should continue to be engines of economic growth and opportunity.

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