Among the buyers were Soros Fund Management, the asset manager for billionaire George Soros' Open Society Foundations, which increased its position to 1,476,180 shares, worth $15 million at the end of the fourth quarter, its filing showed. The fund had owned 440,000 shares at the end of the third quarter.

Cliff Asness' AQR Capital Management bought 4.1 million shares in the bank, adding to its third-quarter position of roughly 2 million shares.

Multi-strategy hedge fund Millennium Management added almost 3 million shares in NYCB in the last quarter of 2023, to finish the year with 3.5 million shares.

Paul Tudor's Tudor Investment Corporation bought a new position in the bank of 252,028 shares.

David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital increased its shares by roughly 100,000, ending December with 1.8 million shares of the bank.

Shares of NYCB are down 54.6% so far this year. The bank on Jan. 31 reported a quarterly loss due to huge provisions for loans tied to the commercial real estate industry and slashed its dividend.

The funds' positions were revealed in securities filings known as 13Fs that hedge funds and other institutional investors file at the end of each quarter. Because the filings are backward looking, it was not possible to know if the funds still held their positions when NYCB's shares plunged.

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl, in New York; Editing by Ira Iosebashvili and Leslie Adler)

By Carolina Mandl