GLEN HEAD, N.Y., Jan. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The First of Long Island Corporation (Nasdaq:FLIC), the parent company of The First National Bank of Long Island, reported that net income and earnings per share for 2012 were $20.4 million and $2.27, respectively, representing increases over 2011 net income and earnings per share of 4.8% and 3.2%, respectively. Dividends per share were $.96 for 2012, or 6.7% more than the $.90 per share declared in 2011. Returns on average assets (ROA) and average equity (ROE) for 2012 were .99% and 10.19%, respectively, versus 1.05% and 11.15%, respectively, for 2011. An increase in average unrealized gains on available-for-sale securities accounts for a significant portion of the decline in ROE. For the fourth quarter of 2012, net income and earnings per share were $5.1 million and $.56, respectively, representing increases over the same quarter last year of 6.8% and 5.7%, respectively. Analysis of Full Year 2012 Earnings The increase in net income for 2012 is primarily attributable to an increase in net interest income of $1.4 million, or 2.3%, a decrease in the provision for loan losses of $433,000, and an increase in noninterest income, excluding securities gains, of $287,000, or 4.6%. Partially offsetting the positive earnings impact of these items was a net loss of $338,000 on a deleveraging transaction executed in the second quarter of this year, an increase in noninterest expense, before debt extinguishment costs, of $731,000, or 2.0%, and an increase in income tax expense of $73,000. Despite a $1.0 million increase in income before income taxes, income tax expense only increased by $73,000 largely because of a $869,000 increase in tax-exempt income on municipal securities. The increase in net interest income resulted from an increase in average interest-earning assets of $204.8 million, or 11.4%, as partially offset by a 29 basis point decline in net interest margin. Net interest margin declined from 3.63% in 2011 to 3.34% in 2012 as loans repriced and cash flows were deployed in a very low interest rate environment. The growth in average interest-earning assets is principally comprised of increases in average loans outstanding of $125.7 million, or 13.3%, nontaxable securities of $61.5 million, or 20.2%, and taxable securities of $24.1 million, or 4.7%. Although most of the loan growth occurred in residential and commercial mortgage loans, commercial and industrial loans grew as well. Management's continued success in growing loans is attributable to a variety of factors including, among others, targeted solicitation efforts, increased focus on multifamily lending, new and expanded programs for first-lien home equity loans and jumbo residential mortgages and the Bank's positive reputation in its marketplace. Home equity loans are included in residential mortgages on the Corporation's balance sheet. While the average balance of the Bank's taxable securities portfolio grew moderately when comparing 2012 to 2011, the size of the portfolio declined by $106.9 million, or 17.8%, when comparing year-end 2012 to 2011. The decline occurred because of the deleveraging transaction and the deployment of funds, when possible, into loans rather than securities. Management's continued efforts to make loans a larger portion of total assets and reduce deposit and borrowing costs have helped to mitigate the negative impact of the low interest rate environment and virtually stabilize net interest margin throughout 2012. Net interest margin was 3.37%, 3.36%, 3.35% and 3.30% in the first, second, third and fourth quarters of this year, respectively.