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STERLING BANCORP REPORTS 96 PERCENT INCREASE IN FOURTH-QUARTER EARNINGS

 NEW YORK, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL), whose principal subsidiary is Sterling National Bank & Trust Company of New York, today reported net income of $639,696, or $.10 per common share, for its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 1992, an increase of 96 percent from $327,063 or $.05 per share for the fourth quarter of 1991.
 For the year ended Dec. 31, 1992, net income was $2,577,214, or $.41 per share, versus a net loss of $4,692,105, or $.74 per share, in 1991.
 Louis J. Cappelli, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said: "Our improved results reflect the strong growth we achieved in core earnings, a substantially lower provision for loan losses, increased non-interest income and continued control of non-interest expenses. With a new vigorous management team in place since mid-1992, and with a business strategy that includes continuing focus on our high- net-worth individual and middle-market customers and increased emphasis on fee-based and other value-added banking business, we expect to achieve continued progress in 1993 and beyond."
 Net interest income in the 1992 fourth quarter was $4,764,175, up 17 percent from $4,061,574 in the year-ago period. For the full year, net interest income increased 17 percent, to $19,061,745 from $16,237,015 last year. These increases resulted from the improved net yield on interest-earning assets, reflecting effective asset/liability management and continuing efforts by the company to reduce funding costs.
 Non-interest income for the fourth quarter of 1992 increased to $1,087,397 from $655,919 for the year-ago period. For the full year, non-interest income was $5,249,962 compared with $2,765,390 a year ago. These increases were attributable to higher fee income and, for the full year, a gain on the sale of securities in connection with the second- quarter restructuring of the bank's investment securities portfolio designed to reduce interest rate risk.
 Fourth-quarter non-interest expenses were $4,772,553, versus $4,540,016 for the comparable 1991 period. For the full year, non- interest expenses were $18,659,177 compared with $17,740,893 for 1991.
 The provision for loan losses for the fourth quarter of 1992 was $210,000; no provision was made for the comparable 1991 period. For the full year, the provision for loan losses was $1,290,000 versus $8,000,000 in 1991. During the third quarter of 1991, a single large borrower of the bank filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In light of this and other factors, an $8,000,000 provision was required.
 At Dec. 31, 1992, non-accrual loans were $3.3 million or 0.57 percent of total assets, versus $4.5 million or 0.88 percent of total assets at Dec. 31, 1991. The allowance for loan losses was $3.2 million or 1.7 percent of core business and installment loans, net of unearned discounts, at Dec. 31, 1992, compared to $3.7 million or 2.7 percent of core business and installment loans, net of unearned discounts, at Dec. 31, 1991.
 Mr. Cappelli stated: "We plan to focus in 1993 on business development efforts designed to achieve continued growth in earnings while maintaining our commitment to asset quality and safety. Our fortress balance sheet and exceptionally strong capital ratios position us to be able to actively pursue attractive growth opportunities during the coming year. Specifically, Sterling National Bank's capital ratios substantially exceed regulatory minimums. At Dec. 31, 1992, the bank's Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 17 percent, more than four times the current regulatory minimum of 4 percent."
 Sterling Bancorp's principal subsidiary, Sterling National Bank & Trust Company of New York, with offices in Manhattan and Queens, has been serving banking needs in the New York area since 1929, with a focus on middle-market companies and high-net-worth individuals.
 STERLING BANCORP
 Comparative Earnings Table
 Periods ended Quarter 12 Months
 Dec. 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Income/(loss) before
 taxes $869,019 $ 177,477 $4,362,530 $(6,738,488)
 Provision/(benefit)
 for income taxes 229,323 (149,586) 1,785,316 (2,046,383)
 Net income/(loss) $639,696 $ 327,063 $2,577,214 $(4,692,105)
 Average number of
 common shares 6,345,708 6,324,606 6,342,327 6,323,225
 Net income/(loss)
 per average common
 share $.10 $.05 $. 41 $(.74)
 -0- 2/18/93
 /CONTACT: John T. Ferguson, vice president of Sterling Bancorp, 212-826-8046; or Robert D. Siegfried or Roy Winnick of Kekst and Company, 212-593-2655, for Sterling Bancorp/
 (STL)


CO: Sterling Bancorp ST: New York IN: FIN SU: ERN

GK-LR -- NY041 -- 7873 02/18/93 11:54 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1993
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