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New York Community Bancorp, Winner in Last Year’s Crisis, Takes a Hit

Some of New York Community Bancorp’s problems are of its own making, while others reflect its absorption of Signature. The bank’s executives said they would have to sock away more money for losses in loans in commercial real estate, partly because of a souring investment environment for office space. (One executive said there was “no real property activity happening right now.”)

The bank did not respond to a request for comment.

As analysts peppered the bank’s executives on their regularly scheduled call to review results, the questioning turned unusually sharp. Steven Alexopoulos of J.P. Morgan asked why the bank would not disclose more details on the effect on its future profitability.

“Why not give us the number?” Mr. Alexopoulos asked. “Your stock is at a 25-year low. I can’t imagine you’re happy with this.” He added, “I don’t know why you wouldn’t take this opportunity to level-set expectations.”

Executives declined to specify, again and again tying their malaise to regulations that force banks with more than $100 billion in assets to hold more money in reserve than smaller lenders, as New York Community Bancorp was earlier. On the dividend cut, the bank’s president, Thomas R. Cangemi, said, “There’s no question that this was a difficult decision as a firm, but clearly necessary.”

One important difference between last year’s crisis and what is befalling New York Community Bancorp: The bank’s deposits appear to be relatively stable. Deposits slipped 2 percent in the fourth quarter to $81.4 billion.


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