If you're looking for a high-yielding bank stock, it's hard to get much better than New York Community Bancorp (NYSE:NYCB). Not only does the New York-based lender sport a 6.6% yield, but it's also one of the safest bank stocks to own today.

What makes these two things possible?

First, New York Community Bancorp doesn't write bad loans, which is the absolute "most important thing" about great bank stocks. Even at the height of the financial crisis, it charged off only 0.53% of its loan portfolio. This was dramatically better than even industry darling US Bancorp, which had a net charge-off ratio of 2.49% in the first quarter of 2010. And there's simply no comparison to the likes of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), which wrote off 4.7% of its loan book at its peak five years ago.

Second, New York Community Bancorp is phenomenally efficient. With an efficiency ratio in the low-40% range, it blows away competitors like Bank of America, which are struggling against bloated expense bases that may never be remedied -- click here to see how the nation's biggest banks stack up in this regard.

As Motley Fool senior banking specialist John Maxfield explains in the video below, the net result is that unlike Bank of America and others, New York Community Bancorp is able to pass on the lion's share of its revenue to shareholders via dividends.

John Maxfield has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Bank of America. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.