CORAL GABLES, FL-BankUnited Financial Corp. closed the third quarter ended June 30 with a 22% increase in net income, a company high. The Coral Gables-based parent of BankUnited met a quarterly market forecast of 22 cents per diluted share as tracked by Thompson/First Call.

Despite weaker overall economic conditions, the bank holding company saw the value of its commercial and real estate loan portfolio increase by about 14.5% over the nine-month period–a total of $405 million, up from $353.9 for the same period in 2000.

BankUnited Financial reported net income of $4.4 million, or 22 cents per diluted share, on total interest income of $79.7 million for the three months ended June 30, compared with net income of $3.6 million, or 20 cents a share, on total interest income of $75.9 million for the same period in 2000.

News of the positive earnings report, however, apparently couldn’t offset the affect of a negative research report published Thursday by the Friedman Billings Ramsey Group Inc., an Arlington, VA-based financial holding company. The report downgraded BankUnited’s common stock from a “buy” to a “market perform” because of weakness in the company’s valuation.

Shares in BankUnited closed down 28 cents Thursday at $15.44 on volume of 322,100–just 46 cents off the 52-week high of $15.90. The issue has traded as low as $6.13 over the same period.

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