Another worry is that the nonperforming-assets ratio increased to 1.45% from 1.04%. Then again, with nearly three-quarters of the loan portfolio secured by apartment buildings with mainly rent-controlled or rent-stabilized dwellings with below-market rents, actual loan losses have been minimal. The low-risk loan collateral, along with relatively small average loan-to-value ratios of 61% on multifamily mortgages and 54% on commercial real-estate loans, have enabled the company to avoid large loan losses.

The annualized ratio of net charge-offs to average loans was a tiny 0.03% for the third quarter, and has remained below 0.05% this year.

A bright spot for New York Community in the third quarter was a net interest margin (the difference between the average yield on loans and investments and the average cost of deposits and borrowings) of 3.17%, up from 3.06% in the previous quarter and 2.68% a year earlier.

The improved margin helped the company increase its return on average assets to a respectable 1.39% for the third quarter, up from 1.10% in the second quarter and 1.22% a year earlier.

New York Community's shares have fallen 12% this year, trading near the low end of a 52-week range of $8 to $15. They're at 9.5 times earnings, 0.7 times book value and 2.1 times tangible book value. The stock is up 24% over one year.

United Bankshares

United Bankshares of Charleston, W. Va., pays a 29-cent quarterly dividend, or a yield of 6.8%.
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