Another bright spot for New York Community is continued high efficiency. A bank's efficiency ratio is essentially its noninterest expense divided by its interest and noninterest income, and New York Community's third-quarter efficiency ratio of 35.82% was third-best among the largest 50 U.S. bank and thrift holding companies, according to SNL Financial. It followed Hudson City Bancorp ( HCBK) with an efficiency ratio of 22.55% and Washington Federal ( WFSL), at 32.19%.

New York Community Bancorp didn't take government bailout assistance from through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP. The company's tangible common equity ratio as of September 30 was 7.59%, rising from 6.03% a year earlier, despite the dividend payout.

Following the company's third-quarter earnings release, David Darst of Guggenheim Securities reiterated his buy rating on the shares and $19 price target, citing the bank's "improving fee income growth." His earnings estimate for 2011 is $1.40 a share, which is a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 12.1 based on Friday's close.

So how do you play New York Community Bancorp? The shares aren't particularly cheap, but one way to play it is to begin with a reasonable position and genuine long term commitment - meaning several years - while enjoying the near-6% yield and building the position on the inevitable market dips.


-- Written by Philip van Doorn in Jupiter, Fla.

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Philip W. van Doorn is a member of TheStreet's banking and finance team, commenting on industry and regulatory trends. He previously served as the senior analyst for Ratings, responsible for assigning financial strength ratings to banks and savings and loan institutions. Mr. van Doorn previously served as a loan operations officer at Riverside National Bank in Fort Pierce, Fla., and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York, where he monitored banks in New York, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Mr. van Doorn has additional experience in the mutual fund and computer software industries. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration from Long Island University.

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