MONTEBELLO, N.Y. (AP) ¿ Provident New York Bancorp, the parent company of Provident Bank, said Tuesday that it had repurchased 280,450 shares in the most recent quarter as part of an ongoing effort to boost its capital reserves. The buyback is part of a $2 million repurchase announced in August 2007. About 872,000 shares remain under the existing program, the company said. The repurchase comes at a time when a growing number of banks are selling shares to shore up their balance sheets. Financial giants such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., American Express and Morgan Stanley have all announced stock offerings in recent days prove their financial health in an effort to repay loans received under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Provident Bank, for its part, did not accept TARP funds, and Miranda Grimm, the company's controller, said the recent purchases are unrelated to the other companies' programs. Provident had slowed its repurchases in recent quarters, she said, but decided to begin buying shares when the stock price dropped. "Our stock was trading below $8 so it made a lot more sense this quarter than it did" previously, she said. The company operates 33 banks in New York's Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey region. Grimm declined to predict how many additional shares the company would repurchase in the future, since the stock price continues to fluctuate. Provident shares closed at $8.47, down 6 cents, or less than 1 percent for the day.