HAZARD, Ky., FRANKFORT, Ky., DANVILLE, Ky. and LANCASTER, Ky., Nov. 07, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kentucky First Federal Bancorp (Nasdaq:KFFB), the holding company for First Federal Savings and Loan Association of Hazard and First Federal Savings Bank of Kentucky, Frankfort, Kentucky, announced net earnings of $297,000 or $0.04 diluted earnings per share for the three months ended September 30, 2016, compared to net earnings of $538,000 or $0.06 diluted earnings per share for the three months ended September 30, 2015, a decrease of $241,000 or 44.8%. The decrease in net earnings for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, was primarily attributable to lower net interest income, higher non-interest expense and higher income tax expense, while partially offset by an increase in non-interest income and a decrease in provision for loan loss. Net interest income decreased $173,000 or 6.6% to $2.5 million for the current quarter just ended primarily due to a decrease in interest income which declined $195,000 or 6.5% to $2.8 million for the recently-ended quarter led principally by a decrease in interest income on loans. Non-interest expense increased $103,000 or 5.0% to $2.2 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, primarily due to increases in employee compensation and benefits, as well as occupancy and equipment expense. Income tax expense increased $26,000 or 19.4% and totaled $160,000 for the quarter just ended. Income tax expense in the prior year period was reduced by a FIN 48 reserve related to a previously received federal tax refund. Non-interest income increased $54,000 or 47.4% to $168,000 for the just-ended quarter due primarily to positive results related to the Company's other real estate owned. The Company's provision for loan losses decreased $7,000 or 63.6% to $4,000 for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, in response to improved asset quality in the loan portfolio.