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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the Year Ended December 31, 2023

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT

Commission file number 001-34096

Dime Community Bancshares, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

New York

11-2934195

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

(I.R.S. employer identification number)

898 Veterans Memorial Highway, Suite 560, Hauppauge, NY

11788

(Address of principal executive offices)

(Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (631) 537-1000

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each class

Trading Symbol(s)

Name of exchange on which registered

Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share

DCOM

The Nasdaq Stock Market

Preferred Stock, Series A, par value $0.01 per share

DCOMP

The Nasdaq Stock Market

Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. YES NO

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. YES NO

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding twelve months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. YES NO

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). YES NO

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Large accelerated filer

Accelerated filer

Non-accelerated filer

Smaller reporting company

Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its managements assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 USC. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act): Yes No

The aggregate market value of the voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of June 30, 2023 was approximately $610.4 million based upon the $17.63 closing price on the NASDAQ National Market for a share of the registrant’s common stock on June 30, 2023.

The registrant had 38,826,981 shares of common stock, $0.01 par value, outstanding as of February 15, 2024.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the definitive Proxy Statement to be distributed on behalf of the Board of Directors of Registrant in connection with the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 23, 2024 and any adjournment thereof, are incorporated by reference in Part III.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

PART I

Item 1.

Business

5

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

14

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

21

Item 1C.

Cybersecurity

21

Item 2.

Properties

23

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

23

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

23

PART II

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

24

Item 6.

[Reserved]

25

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

25

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

42

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

45

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

104

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

104

Item 9B.

Other Information

104

Item 9C.

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections

104

PART III

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance

105

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

105

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

105

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

105

Item 14.

Principal Accounting Fees and Services

105

PART IV

Item 15.

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

106

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

112

Signatures

113

3

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This report contains statements relating to our future results (including certain projections and business trends) that are considered “forward-looking statements” as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the “PSLRA”). Such forward-looking statements, in addition to historical information, which involve risk and uncertainties, are based on the beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our management. Words such as “expects,” “believes,” “should,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “will,” “potential,” “could,” “intend,” “may,” “outlook,” “predict,” “project,” “would,” “estimated,” “assumes,” “likely,” and variations of such similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, possible or assumed estimates with respect to the financial condition, expected or anticipated revenue, and results of operations and our business, including earnings growth; revenue growth in retail banking, lending and other areas; origination volume in the consumer, commercial and other lending businesses; current and future capital management programs; non-interest income levels, including fees from the title insurance subsidiary and banking services as well as product sales; tangible capital generation; market share; expense levels; and other business operations and strategies. We claim the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the PSLRA.

Forward-looking statements are based upon various assumptions and analyses made by Dime Community Bancshares, Inc. together with its direct and indirect subsidiaries, (the “Company”) in light of management’s experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors it believes appropriate under the circumstances. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors (many of which are beyond the Company’s control) that could cause actual conditions or results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on such statements. These factors include, without limitation, the following:

there may be increases in competitive pressure among financial institutions or from non-financial institutions;
inflation and fluctuation in market interest rates may affect demand for our products, operating costs, interest margins and the fair value of financial instruments;
our net interest margin is subject to material short-term fluctuation based upon market rates;
changes in deposit flows, loan demand or real estate values may affect the business of Dime Community Bank (the “Bank”);
changes in accounting principles, policies or guidelines may cause the Company’s financial condition to be perceived differently;
changes in corporate and/or individual income tax laws or policies may adversely affect the Company’s business or financial condition or results of operations;
socio-economic conditions, including conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and any other public health emergency, international conflict, inflation, and recessionary pressures, either nationally or locally in some or all areas in which the Company conducts business, or conditions in the securities markets or the banking industry, may be different than the Company currently anticipates and may adversely affect our customers, financials results and operations;
legislative, regulatory or policy changes may adversely affect the Company’s business or results of operations;
technological changes may be more difficult or expensive than the Company anticipates;
the Company may experiences breaches or failures of its information technology security systems;
success or consummation of new business initiatives or the integration of any acquired entities may be more difficult or expensive than the Company anticipates;
litigation or other matters before regulatory agencies, whether currently existing or commencing in the future, may delay the occurrence or non-occurrence of events longer than the Company anticipates; and
the Company may be subject to other risks, as enumerated under Item 1A. Risk Factors in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in quarterly and other reports filed by us with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Company has no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document.

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PART I

Item 1. Business

General

Dime Community Bancshares, Inc. (the “Company”) is a bank holding company engaged in commercial banking and financial services through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Dime Community Bank (the “Bank”). The Bank was established in 1910 and is headquartered in Hauppauge, New York. The Holding Company was incorporated under the laws of the State of New York in 1988 to serve as the holding company for the Bank. The Company functions primarily as the holder of all of the Bank’s common stock. Our bank operations include Dime Community Inc., a real estate investment trust subsidiary, and Dime Abstract LLC (“Dime Abstract”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank, which is a broker of title insurance services.  

For over a century, we have maintained our focus on building customer relationships in our market area. Our mission is to grow through the provision of exceptional service to our customers, our employees, and the community. We strive to achieve excellence in financial performance and build long-term shareholder value. We engage in providing full service commercial and consumer banking services, including accepting time, savings and demand deposits from the businesses, consumers, and local municipalities in our market area. These deposits, together with funds generated from operations and borrowings, are invested primarily in: (1) commercial real estate loans (“CRE”); (2) multi-family mortgage loans; (3) residential mortgage loans; (4) secured and unsecured commercial and consumer loans; (5) home equity loans; (6) construction and land loans; (7) Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”), Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”), Government National Mortgage Association (“Ginnie Mae”) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“Freddie Mac”) mortgage-backed securities, collateralized mortgage obligations and other asset backed securities; (8) U.S. Treasury securities; (9) New York State and local municipal obligations; (10) U.S. government-sponsored enterprise (“U.S. GSE”) securities; and (11) corporate bonds. We also offer the Certificate of Deposit Account Registry Service (“CDARS”) and Insured Cash Sweep (“ICS”) programs, providing multi-millions of dollars of Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”) insurance on deposits to our customers. In addition, we offer merchant credit and debit card processing, automated teller machines, cash management services, lockbox processing, online banking services, remote deposit capture, safe deposit boxes, and individual retirement accounts as well as investment services through Dime Financial Services LLC, which offers a full range of investment products and services through a third-party broker dealer. Through its title insurance subsidiary, the Bank acts as a broker for title insurance services. Our customer base is comprised principally of small and medium sized businesses, municipal relationships and consumer relationships.

On February 1, 2021, Dime Community Bancshares, Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Legacy Dime”) merged with and into Bridge Bancorp, Inc., a New York corporation (“Bridge”) (the “Merger”), with Bridge as the surviving corporation under the name “Dime Community Bancshares, Inc.” (the “Holding Company”). At the effective time of the Merger (the “Effective Time”), each outstanding share of Legacy Dime common stock, par value $0.01 per share, was converted into the right to receive 0.6480 shares of the Holding Company’s common stock, par value $0.01 per share.

At the Effective Time, each outstanding share of Legacy Dime’s Series A preferred stock, par value $0.01 (the “Dime Preferred Stock”), was converted into the right to receive one share of a newly created series of the Holding Company’s preferred stock having the same powers, preferences and rights as the Dime Preferred Stock.

Immediately following the Merger, Dime Community Bank, a New York-chartered commercial bank and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Legacy Dime, merged with and into BNB Bank, a New York-chartered trust company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bridge, with BNB Bank as the surviving bank, under the name “Dime Community Bank” (the “Bank”).

As of December 31, 2023, we operated 60 branch locations throughout Long Island and the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and the Bronx.  

Human Capital Resources

Demographics and Culture

As of December 31, 2023, we employed 851 full-time equivalent employees. Our employees are not represented by a collective bargaining agreement. Our culture in the workplace encourages employees to care about each other, the

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communities they serve, and the work they do. We believe strong community ties, customer focus, accountability, and development of the communities in which we operate will have a favorable long-term impact on our business performance. Our employees are passionate and empowered to build relationships and provide customized banking solutions to the communities we serve. We believe in hiring well-qualified people from a wide range of backgrounds who align to values like integrity, innovation, and teamwork. As an equal opportunity employer, our decisions to select and promote employees are unbiased as we seek to build a diverse and inclusive team of employees.

Labor Policies and Benefits

We offer our employees a comprehensive benefits package that will support, maintain, and protect their physical, mental, and financial health. We sponsor various wellness programs that promote the health and wellness of our employees.

Training, Development and Retention

We are committed to retaining employees by being competitive in providing cash and non-cash rewards, benefits, recognition, and professional development opportunities. We offer an 8-week summer internship program through local colleges that provide students with valuable experience in the professional fields they are considering career paths. It also provides a post-graduation pipeline of future employees. In addition, we maintain equity incentive plans under which we may issue shares of our common stock. Refer to Note 20. “Stock-Based Compensation” of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K for further details of our equity incentive plans. We promote career development and continuing education by offering internal training programs and tuition reimbursement for programs that develop skills related to our business.

Competition and Principal Market Areas

All phases of our business are highly competitive. We face direct competition from a significant number of financial institutions operating in our market area, many with a statewide or regional presence, and in some cases, a national presence. There is also competition for banking business from competitors outside of our market areas. Most of these competitors are significantly larger than us, and therefore have greater financial and marketing resources and lending limits than us. The fixed cost of regulatory compliance remains high for community banks as compared to their larger competitors that are able to achieve economies of scale. We consider our major competition to be local commercial banks as well as other commercial banks with branches in our market area. Other competitors include savings banks, credit unions, mortgage brokers and other financial services firms, such as investment and insurance companies. Increased competition within our market areas may limit growth and profitability. The title insurance subsidiary also faces competition from other title insurance brokers as well as directly from the companies that underwrite title insurance. In New York State, title insurance is obtained on most transfers of real estate and mortgage transactions.

Our principal market area is Greater Long Island, which includes the counties of Kings, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk, and Manhattan. Industries represented across the principal market areas include retail establishments; construction and trades; restaurants and bars; lodging and recreation; professional entities; real estate; health services; passenger transportation; high-tech manufacturing; and agricultural and related businesses. Given its proximity, Long Island’s economy is closely linked with New York City’s and major employers in the area include municipalities, school districts, hospitals, and financial institutions.  

Taxation

The Holding Company, the Bank and its subsidiaries, report their income on a consolidated basis using the accrual method of accounting and are subject to federal taxation as well as income tax of the State and City of New York, and the State of New Jersey. In general, banks are subject to federal income tax in the same manner as other corporations. However, gains and losses realized by banks from the sale of available-for-sale securities are generally treated as ordinary income, rather than capital gains or losses. The taxation of net income is similar to federal taxable income subject to certain modifications.

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Regulation and Supervision

Dime Community Bank

The Bank is a New York State-chartered trust company and a member of the Federal Reserve System (a “member bank”). The lending, investment, and other business operations of the Bank are governed by New York and federal laws and regulations. The Bank is subject to extensive regulation by the New York State Department of Financial Services (“NYSDFS”) and, as a member bank, by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (“FRB”). The Bank’s deposit accounts are insured up to applicable limits by the FDIC under its Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) and the FDIC has certain regulatory authority as deposit insurer. A summary of the primary laws and regulations that govern the Bank’s operations are set forth below.

Loans and Investments

The powers of a New York commercial bank (which include, for this purpose, trust companies such as the Bank) are established by New York law and applicable federal law. New York commercial banks have authority to originate and purchase any type of loan, including commercial, commercial real estate, residential mortgage, and consumer loans. Aggregate loans by a state commercial bank to any single borrower or group of related borrowers are generally limited to 15% of the Bank’s capital and surplus, plus an additional 10% if secured by specified readily marketable collateral.

Federal and state law and regulations limit the Bank’s investment authority. Generally, a state member bank is prohibited from investing in corporate equity securities for its own account other than the equity securities of companies through which the bank conducts its business. Under federal and state regulations, a New York state member bank may invest in investment securities for its own account up to a specified limit depending upon the type of security. “Investment Securities” are generally defined as marketable obligations that are investment grade and not predominantly speculative in nature. Applicable regulations classify investment securities into five different types and, depending on its type, a state member bank may have the authority to deal in and underwrite the security. New York state member banks may also purchase certain non-investment securities that can be reclassified and underwritten as loans.

Lending Standards

The federal banking agencies adopted uniform regulations prescribing standards for extensions of credit that are secured by liens on interests in real estate or made for the purpose of financing the construction of a building or other improvements to real estate. Under these regulations, all insured depository institutions, like the Bank, adopted and maintain written policies that establish appropriate limits and standards for extensions of credit that are secured by liens or interests in real estate or are made for the purpose of financing permanent improvements to real estate. These policies must establish loan portfolio diversification standards, prudent underwriting standards (including loan-to-value limits) that are clear and measurable, loan administration procedures, and documentation, approval and reporting requirements. The real estate lending policies must reflect consideration of the Interagency Guidelines for Real Estate Lending Policies that have been adopted by the federal bank regulators.

Federal Deposit Insurance

The Bank is a member of the DIF, which is administered by the FDIC. Our deposit accounts are insured by the FDIC. The deposit insurance available on all deposit accounts is $250,000.

The FDIC assesses insured depository institutions to maintain the DIF. Under the FDIC’s risk-based assessment system, institutions deemed less risky pay lower assessments.  Assessments for institutions with $10 billion or more of assets are primarily based on a scorecard approach by the FDIC, including factors such as examination ratings, financial measures, and modeling measuring the institution’s ability to withstand asset-related and funding-related stress and potential loss to the DIF in the event of the institution’s failure. The assessment range (inclusive of possible adjustments specified by the regulations) for institutions with total assets of more than $10 billion is 2.5 to 42 basis points, effective January 1, 2023.  In 2023, the FDIC approved a final rule to implement a special assessment to recover the loss to the DIF associated with the closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank.

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Insurance of deposits may be terminated by the FDIC upon a finding that an institution has engaged in unsafe or unsound practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition to continue operations or has violated any applicable law, regulation, order or condition imposed by the FDIC. The Company does not know of any practice, condition or violation that might lead to termination of deposit insurance.

Capitalization

Federal regulations require FDIC insured depository institutions, including state member banks, to meet several minimum capital standards:  a common equity tier 1 capital to risk-based assets ratio of 4.5%, a tier 1 capital to risk-based assets ratio of 6.0%, a total capital to risk-based assets ratio of 8.0%, and a tier 1 capital to total assets leverage ratio of 4.0%. The existing capital requirements were effective January 1, 2015 and are the result of a final rule implementing regulatory amendments based on recommendations of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and certain requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”). Common equity tier 1 capital is generally defined as common stockholders’ equity and retained earnings. Tier 1 capital is generally defined as common equity tier 1 and additional tier 1 capital. Additional tier 1 capital generally includes certain noncumulative perpetual preferred stock and related surplus and minority interests in equity accounts of consolidated subsidiaries. Total capital includes tier 1 capital (common equity tier 1 capital plus additional tier 1 capital) and tier 2 capital. Tier 2 capital is comprised of capital instruments and related surplus meeting specified requirements, and may include cumulative preferred stock, mandatory convertible securities, and subordinated debt. Also included in tier 2 capital is the allowance for credit losses limited to a maximum of 1.25% of risk-weighted assets and, for institutions that have exercised an opt-out election regarding the treatment of accumulated other comprehensive income (“AOCI”), up to 45% of net unrealized gains on available-for-sale equity securities with readily determinable fair market values. Institutions that have not exercised the AOCI opt-out have AOCI incorporated into common equity tier 1 capital (including unrealized gains and losses on available-for-sale-securities). The Bank has exercised this opt-out election. Calculation of all types of regulatory capital is subject to deductions and adjustments specified in the regulations.

In determining the amount of risk-weighted assets for purposes of calculating risk-based capital ratios, assets, including certain off-balance sheet assets (e.g., recourse obligations, direct credit substitutes, residual interests), are multiplied by a risk weight factor assigned by the regulations based on the risks believed inherent in the type of asset. Higher levels of capital are required for asset categories believed to present greater risk. For example, a risk weight of 0% is assigned to cash and U.S. government securities, a risk weight of 50% is generally assigned to prudently underwritten first lien one-to-four family residential mortgages, a risk weight of 100% is assigned to commercial and consumer loans, a risk weight of 150% is assigned to certain past due loans and a risk weight of between 0% to 600% is assigned to permissible equity interests, depending on certain specified factors.

In addition to establishing the minimum regulatory capital requirements, the regulations limit capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments to management if the institution does not hold a “capital conservation buffer” consisting of 2.5% of common equity tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets above the amount necessary to meet its minimum risk-based capital requirements.

Safety and Soundness Standards

Each federal banking agency, including the FRB, has adopted guidelines establishing general standards relating to internal controls, information and internal audit systems, loan documentation, credit underwriting, interest rate exposure, asset growth, asset quality, earnings and compensation, fees, and benefits. In general, the guidelines require, among other things, appropriate systems and practices to identify and manage the risks and exposures specified in the guidelines. The guidelines prohibit excessive compensation as an unsafe and unsound practice and describe compensation as excessive when the amounts paid are unreasonable or disproportionate to the services performed by an executive officer, employee, director, or principal shareholder.

On April 26, 2016, the federal regulatory agencies approved a second proposed joint rulemaking to implement Section 956 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which prohibits incentive-based compensation that encourages inappropriate risk taking. In addition, the NYSDFS issued guidance applicable to incentive compensation in October 2016.

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Prompt Corrective Action

Federal law requires, among other things, that federal bank regulatory authorities take “prompt corrective action” with respect to institutions that do not meet minimum capital requirements. For these purposes, the statute establishes five capital tiers: well capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized, and critically undercapitalized.

The FRB may order member banks which have insufficient capital to take corrective actions. For example, a bank which is categorized as “undercapitalized” would be subject to other growth limitations, would be required to submit a capital restoration plan, and a holding company that controls such a bank would be required to guarantee that the bank complies with the capital restoration plan. A “significantly undercapitalized” bank would be subject to additional restrictions. Member banks deemed by the FRB to be “critically undercapitalized” would be subject to the appointment of a receiver or conservator.

The final rule that increased regulatory capital standards adjusted the prompt corrective action tiers as of January 1, 2015. The various categories were revised to incorporate the new common equity tier 1 capital requirement, the increase in the tier 1 to risk-based assets requirement and other changes. Under the revised prompt corrective action requirements, insured depository institutions are required to meet the following in order to qualify as “well capitalized”: (1) a common equity tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 6.5% (new standard); (2) a tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 8.0% (increased from 6.0%); (3) a total risk-based capital ratio of 10.0% (unchanged); and (4) a tier 1 leverage ratio of 5.0% (unchanged).

Dividends

Under federal law and applicable regulations, a New York state member bank may generally declare a dividend, without prior regulatory approval, in an amount equal to its year-to-date retained net income plus the prior two years’ retained net income that is still available for dividend. Dividends exceeding those amounts require application to and approval by the NYSDFS and FRB.  In addition, a member bank may be limited in paying cash dividends if it does not maintain the capital conservation buffer described previously under “—Capitalization.”

Liquidity

Pursuant to federal regulations, the Bank is required to maintain sufficient liquidity to ensure its safe and sound operation.

Branching

Subject to certain limitations, with approval of the FRB, New York state-chartered banks and trust companies can open their initial branches in other states by establishing a de novo branch at any location at which a bank chartered by that state could also establish a branch.  Federal law also permits an interstate merger transaction involving the acquisition of a branch without the acquisition of the bank only if the law of the state in which the branch is located permits out-of-state banks to acquire a branch of a bank in such state without acquiring the bank.

Acquisitions

Under the Federal Bank Merger Act, prior approval of the FRB is required for the Bank to merge with or purchase the assets or assume the deposits of another insured depository institution. In reviewing applications seeking approval of merger and acquisition transactions, the FRB will consider, among other factors, the competitive effect and public benefits of the transactions, the capital position of the combined organization, the risks to the stability of the U.S. banking or financial system, the applicant’s performance record under the CRA (see “Community Reinvestment”) and its compliance with fair housing and other consumer protection laws and the effectiveness of the subject organizations in combating money laundering activities.

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Privacy and Security Protection

The federal banking agencies have adopted regulations for consumer privacy protection that require financial institutions to adopt procedures to protect customers and their “non-public personal information.” The regulations require the Bank to disclose its privacy policy, including identifying with whom it shares “non-public personal information,” to customers at the time of establishing the customer relationship, and annually thereafter if there are changes to its policy. In addition, the Bank is required to provide its customers the ability to “opt-out” of: (1) the sharing of their personal information with unaffiliated third parties if the sharing of such information does not satisfy any of the permitted exceptions; and (2) the receipt of marketing solicitations from Bank affiliates.

The Bank is additionally subject to regulatory guidelines establishing standards for safeguarding customer information. The guidelines describe the federal banking agencies’ expectations for the creation, implementation and maintenance of an information security program, including administrative, technical and physical safeguards appropriate for the size and complexity of the institution and the nature and scope of its activities. The standards set forth in the guidelines are intended to ensure the security and confidentiality of customer records and information, and protect against anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such records and unauthorized access to or use of such records or information that could result in substantial customer harm or inconvenience.

Federal law additionally permits each state to enact legislation that is more protective of consumers’ personal information. There are periodically privacy bills considered by the New York legislature. Management of the Company cannot predict the impact, if any, of these bills if enacted.

Cybersecurity more broadly has become a focus of federal and state banking agencies, including during the regulators’ examinations.  In March 2017, the NYSDFS issued regulations requiring financial institutions regulated by the NYSDFS, including the Bank, to, among other things, (i) establish and maintain a cyber security program designed to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of their information systems; (ii) implement and maintain a written cyber security policy setting forth policies and procedures for the protection of their information systems and nonpublic information; and (iii) designate a Chief Information Security Officer.  In November 2023, NYSDFS amended these regulations to include heightened governance requirements and an expansion of the breadth and depth of required policies and procedures, among other things.

Transactions with Affiliates and Insiders

Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act govern transactions between a member bank and its affiliates, which includes the Company. The FRB has adopted Regulation W, which comprehensively implements and interprets Sections 23A and 23B, and codifies prior FRB interpretations under those sections.

An affiliate of a bank includes, among other things, any company or entity that controls, is controlled by or is under common control with the bank. A subsidiary of a bank that is not also a depository institution or a “financial subsidiary” under federal law is generally not treated as an affiliate of the bank for the purposes of Sections 23A and 23B and Regulation W; however, the FRB has the discretion to treat subsidiaries of a bank as affiliates on a case-by-case basis. Section 23A and Regulation W limit the extent to which a bank or its subsidiaries may engage in “covered transactions” with any one affiliate to an amount equal to 10% of such bank’s capital stock and surplus, and limit all such transactions with all affiliates to an amount equal to 20% of such capital stock and surplus. Section 23A and Regulation W also require that all “covered transactions” be on terms that are consistent with safe and sound banking practices. The term “covered transaction” includes the making of loans, purchase of assets, issuance of guarantees and other similar types of transactions. Further, most loans by a bank to any of its affiliates must be secured by collateral in amounts ranging from 100 to 130 percent of the loan amounts. In addition, under Section 23B and Regulation W, bank transactions with affiliates, including “covered transactions,” sales of assets, and the furnishing of services,  must be on terms that are substantially the same, or at least as favorable, to the bank as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with or involving a non-affiliate.

A bank’s loans to its affiliates executive officers, directors, any owner of more than 10% of its stock (each, an insider) and entities controlled by such person (an insider’s related interest) are subject to the conditions and limitations imposed by Section 22(h) of the Federal Reserve Act and the FRB’s Regulation O implemented thereunder. Under these restrictions,

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the aggregate amount of the loans to any insider and the insider’s related interests may not exceed the loans-to-one-borrower limit applicable to national banks. All loans by a bank to all insiders and insiders’ related interests in the aggregate may not exceed the bank’s unimpaired capital and unimpaired surplus. With certain exceptions, loans to an executive officer, other than loans for the education of the officer’s children and certain loans secured by the officer’s residence, may not exceed the greater of $25,000 or 2.5% of the bank’s unimpaired capital and unimpaired surplus, and in no event can be more than $100,000. Regulation O also requires that any proposed loan to an insider or a related interest of that insider be approved in advance by a majority of the board of directors of the bank, with any interested director not participating in the voting, if such loan, when aggregated with any existing loans to that insider and the insider’s related interests, would exceed either $500,000 or the greater of $25,000 or 5% of the bank’s unimpaired capital and surplus. Generally, such loans must be made on substantially the same terms as, and follow credit underwriting procedures that are no less stringent than, those that are prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with other persons and must not present more than a normal risk of repayment or present other unfavorable features. An exception is made for extensions of credit made pursuant to a benefit or compensation plan of a bank that is widely available to employees of the bank and that does not give any preference to insiders of the bank over other employees of the bank.

Examinations and Assessments

The Bank is required to file periodic reports with and is subject to periodic examination by the NYSDFS and the FRB. Applicable laws and regulations generally require periodic on-site examinations and annual audits by independent public accountants for all insured institutions. The Bank is required to pay an annual assessment to the NYSDFS to fund its supervision.

Federal law provides that institutions with more than $10 billion in total assets, such as the Bank, are examined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) as to compliance with certain federal consumer protection and fair lending laws and regulations.

Community Reinvestment Act

Under the federal Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”), the Bank has a continuing and affirmative obligation consistent with its safe and sound operation to help meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods. The CRA does not establish specific lending requirements or programs for financial institutions nor does it limit an institution’s discretion to develop the types of products and services that it believes are best suited to its particular community, consistent with the CRA. The CRA requires the FRB, in connection with its examination of the Bank, to assess its record of meeting the credit needs of its community and to take that record into account in its evaluation of certain applications by the Bank. For example, the regulations specify that a bank’s CRA performance will be considered in its expansion (e.g., branching or mergers) proposals and may be the basis for approving, denying or conditioning the approval of an application. On October 24, 2023, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a final rule to strengthen and modernize the CRA regulations.  Under the final rule, banks with assets of at least $2 billion as of December 31 in both of the prior two calendar years will be a “large bank.” The agencies will evaluate large banks under four performance tests: the Retail Lending Test, the Retail Services and Products Test, the Community Development Financing Test, and the Community Development Services Test. The applicability date for the majority of the provisions in the CRA regulations is January 1, 2026, and additional requirements will be applicable on January 1, 2027. As of the date of its most recent CRA examination, which was conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the NYSDFS, the Bank’s CRA performance was rated “Outstanding”.

New York law imposes a similar obligation on the Bank to serve the credit needs of its community. New York law contains its own community invested-related provisions, which are substantially similar to federal law.

The Bank Secrecy Act and USA PATRIOT Act

The Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (“USA PATRIOT Act”) require the Bank to implement a compliance program to detect and prevent money laundering, terrorist financing, and crime. Together, the BSA and USA PATRIOT Act require the Bank to implement internal controls, conduct customer due diligence, maintain records, and file reports.  The USA PATRIOT Act also required the federal banking agencies to take into consideration the effectiveness of controls

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designed to combat money laundering activities in determining whether to approve a merger or other acquisition application. Accordingly, if the Bank engages in a merger or other acquisition, its controls designed to combat money laundering would be considered as part of the application process. The Bank has established policies, procedures and systems designed to comply with the BSA, USA PATRIOT Act, and regulations implemented thereunder.

Dime Community Bancshares, Inc.

The Company, as a bank holding company controlling the Bank, is subject to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (“BHCA”), and the rules and regulations of the FRB under the BHCA applicable to bank holding companies. We are required to file reports with, and otherwise comply with the rules and regulations of the FRB.

The FRB previously adopted consolidated capital adequacy guidelines for bank holding companies structured similarly, but not identically, to those applicable to the Bank. The Dodd-Frank Act directed the FRB to issue consolidated capital requirements for depository institution holding companies that are no less stringent, both quantitatively and in terms of components of capital, than those applicable to institutions themselves. The FRB subsequently issued regulations amending its regulatory capital requirements to implement the Dodd-Frank Act as to bank holding company capital standards. Consolidated regulatory capital requirements identical to those applicable to the subsidiary banks applied to bank holding companies as of January 1, 2015. As is the case with institutions themselves, the capital conservation buffer was phased-in between 2016 and 2019. The Company met all capital adequacy requirements under the FRB’s capital rules on December 31, 2023.

The policy of the FRB is that a bank holding company must serve as a source of strength to its subsidiary banks by providing capital and other support in times of distress. The Dodd-Frank Act codified the source of strength policy.

Under the prompt corrective action provisions of federal law, a bank holding company parent of an undercapitalized subsidiary bank is required to guarantee, within specified limits, the capital restoration plan that is required of an undercapitalized bank. If an undercapitalized bank fails to file an acceptable capital restoration plan or fails to implement an accepted plan, the FRB may prohibit the bank holding company parent of the undercapitalized bank from paying dividends or making any other capital distribution.

As a bank holding company, we are required to obtain the prior approval of the FRB to acquire more than 5% of a class of voting securities of any additional bank or bank holding company or to acquire all, or substantially all, the assets of any additional bank or bank holding company. In addition, bank holding companies may generally only engage in activities that are closely related to banking as determined by the FRB. Bank holding companies that meet certain criteria may opt to become a financial holding company and thereby engage in a broader array of financial activities. The Company has elected not to become a financial holding company.

FRB policy is that a bank holding company should pay cash dividends only to the extent that the company’s net income is sufficient to fund the dividends and the prospective rate of earnings retention is consistent with the company’s capital needs, asset quality and overall financial condition. In addition, FRB guidance sets forth the supervisory expectation that bank holding companies will inform and consult with FRB staff in advance of issuing a dividend that exceeds earnings for the quarter and should inform the FRB and should eliminate, defer or significantly reduce dividends if (i) net income available to stockholders for the past four quarters, net of dividends previously paid during that period, is not sufficient to fully fund the dividends, (ii) prospective rate of earnings retention is not consistent with the bank holding company’s capital needs and overall current and prospective financial condition, or (iii) the bank holding company will not meet, or is in danger of not meeting, its minimum regulatory capital adequacy ratios. Moreover, the guidance indicates that a bank holding company should notify the FRB in advance of declaring or paying a dividend that exceeds earnings for the period (e.g., quarter) for which the dividend is being paid or that could result in a material adverse change to the organization’s capital structure. FRB guidance also provides for consultation and nonobjection for material increases in the amount of a bank holding company’s common stock dividend.

Current FRB regulations provide that a bank holding company that is not well capitalized or well managed, as such terms are defined in the regulations, or that is subject to any unresolved supervisory issues, is required to give the FRB prior written notice of any repurchase or redemption of its outstanding equity securities if the gross consideration for repurchase or redemption, when combined with the net consideration paid for all such repurchases or redemptions during the

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preceding 12 months, will be equal to 10% or more of the company’s consolidated net worth. The FRB may disapprove such a repurchase or redemption if it determines that the proposal would constitute an unsafe and unsound practice or violate a law or regulation. FRB guidance generally provides for bank holding company consultation with FRB staff prior to engaging in a repurchase or redemption of a bank holding company’s stock, even if a formal written notice is not required. The guidance provides that the purpose of such consultation is to allow the FRB to review the proposed repurchases or redemption from a supervisory perspective and possibly object.

The NYSDFS and FRB have extensive enforcement authority over the institutions and holding companies that they regulate to prohibit or correct activities that violate law, regulation or written agreements with the agencies or which are deemed to be unsafe or unsound banking practices. Enforcement actions may include: the appointment of a conservator or receiver for an institution; the issuance of a cease and desist order; the termination of deposit insurance; the imposition of civil money penalties on the institution, its directors, officers, employees and institution-affiliated parties; the issuance of directives to increase capital; the issuance of formal and informal agreements; the removal of or restrictions on directors, officers, employees and institution-affiliated parties; and the enforcement of any such mechanisms through restraining orders or other court actions. Any change in applicable New York or federal laws and regulations could have a material adverse impact on us and our operations and stockholders.

We file certain reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) under the federal securities laws. Our operations are also subject to extensive regulation by other federal, state and local governmental authorities and the Company is subject to various laws and judicial and administrative decisions imposing requirements and restrictions on part or all of its operations. We believe that we are in substantial compliance, in all material respects, with applicable federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations. Because our business is highly regulated, the laws, rules and regulations applicable to it are subject to regular modification and change. There can be no assurance that laws, rules and regulations currently proposed, or any other laws, rules or regulations, will not be adopted in the future, which could make compliance more difficult or expensive or otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition or prospects.

Other Information

Through a link on the Investor Relations section of our website of www.dime.com, copies of our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) for 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are made available, free of charge, as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing such material with, or furnishing it to, the SEC. Copies of such reports and other information also are available at no charge to any person who requests them or at www.sec.gov. Such requests may be directed to Dime Community Bancshares, Inc., Investor Relations, 898 Veterans Memorial Highway, Suite 560, Hauppauge, NY 11788, (631) 537-1000. Information on our website is not incorporated by reference and is not a part of this annual report on Form 10-K.

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Item 1A. Risk Factors

Risks Related to our Loan Portfolio

The concentration of our loan portfolio in loans secured by commercial, multi-family and residential real estate properties located in Greater Long Island and Manhattan could materially adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations if general economic conditions or real estate values in this area decline.

Unlike larger banks that are more geographically diversified, our loan portfolio consists primarily of real estate loans secured by commercial, multi-family and residential real estate properties located in Greater Long Island and Manhattan. The local economic conditions in Greater Long Island and Manhattan have a significant impact on the volume of loan originations and the quality of loans, the ability of borrowers to repay these loans, and the value of collateral securing these loans. A considerable decline in the general economic conditions caused by inflation, recession, unemployment or other factors beyond our control would impact these local economic conditions and could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, decreases in tenant occupancy may also have a negative effect on the ability of borrowers to make timely repayments of their loans, which would have an adverse impact on our earnings.

If our regulators impose limitations on our commercial real estate lending activities, earnings could be adversely affected.

In 2006, the federal bank regulatory agencies (collectively, the “Agencies”) issued joint guidance entitled “Concentrations in Commercial Real Estate Lending, Sound Risk Management Practices” (the “CRE Guidance”). Although the CRE Guidance did not establish specific lending limits, it provides that a bank’s commercial real estate lending exposure may receive increased supervisory scrutiny where total non-owner occupied CRE loans, including loans secured by apartment buildings, investor CRE and construction and land loans, represent 300% or more of an institution’s total risk-based capital and the outstanding balance of the CRE loan portfolio has increased by 50% or more during the preceding 36 months. The Consolidated Company’s non-owner occupied CRE level equaled 538% of total risk-based capital at December 31, 2023.

If our regulators were to impose restrictions on the amount of CRE loans we can hold in our portfolio, or require higher capital ratios as a result of the level of CRE loans held, our earnings would be adversely affected.

The performance of our multi-family real estate loans could be adversely impacted by regulation.

Multi-family real estate loans generally involve a greater risk than residential real estate loans because of legislation and government regulations involving rent control and rent stabilization, which are outside the control of the borrower or the Bank, and could impair the value of the security for the loan or the future cash flow of such properties. For example, on June 14, 2019, the State of New York enacted legislation increasing the restrictions on rent increases in a rent-regulated apartment building, including, among other provisions, (i) repealing the vacancy bonus and longevity bonus, which allowed a property owner to raise rents as much as 20% each time a rental unit became vacant, (ii) eliminating high rent vacancy deregulation and high-income deregulation, which allowed a rental unit to be removed from rent stabilization once it crossed a statutory high-rent threshold and became vacant, or the tenant’s income exceeded the statutory amount in the preceding two years, and (iii) eliminating an exception that allowed a property owner who offered preferential rents to tenants to raise the rent to the full legal rent upon renewal.  The legislation still permits a property owner to charge up to the full legal rent once the tenant vacates. As a result of this legislation as well as previously existing laws and regulations, it is possible that rental income might not rise sufficiently over time to satisfy increases in the loan rate at repricing or increases in overhead expenses (e.g., utilities, taxes, maintenance, etc.). For example, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board established the maximum rent increase on certain apartments at 3.0% for a one-year lease beginning on or after October 1, 2023 and on or after September 30, 2024, while the overall inflation rate increased at a greater rate. In addition, overhead (including maintenance) expenses often increase significantly during inflationary periods. Finally, if the cash flow from a collateral property is reduced (e.g., if leases are not obtained or renewed), the borrower’s ability to repay the loan and the value of the security for the loan may be impaired.

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If we experience greater credit losses than anticipated, earnings may be adversely impacted.

As a lender, we are exposed to the risk that customers may not repay their loans according to the original terms, and the collateral securing the payment of those loans may be insufficient to pay any remaining loan balance. Additionally, at December 31, 2023, our portfolio of commercial and industrial loans, and owner-occupied commercial real estate loans, totaled $2.31 billion, or 21.4% of our total loan portfolio. We plan to continue to emphasize the origination of these types of loans, which generally expose us to a greater risk of nonpayment and loss than residential real estate loans because repayment of such loans often depends on the successful operations and income stream of the borrowers. Additionally, such loans typically involve larger loan balances to single borrowers or groups of related borrowers compared to consumer loans or residential real estate loans. Hence, we may experience significant credit losses, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.

Since the first quarter of 2021, we have been required to determine periodic estimates of lifetime expected credit losses on loans and recognize the expected credit losses as allowances for credit losses. This method of loan loss accounting represents a change from the previous method of providing allowances for loan losses that are probable, and greatly increased the types of data we need to collect and review to determine the appropriate level of the allowance for credit losses. We make various assumptions and judgments about the collectability of our loan portfolio, including the creditworthiness of borrowers and the value of the real estate and other assets serving as collateral for the repayment of loans. In determining the amount of the allowance for credit losses, we rely on loan quality reviews, our past loss experience and that of our peer group, and an evaluation of economic conditions, among other factors. If our assumptions prove to be incorrect, the allowance for credit losses may not be sufficient to cover expected losses in the loan portfolio, resulting in additions to the allowance for credit losses. Material additions to the allowance for credit losses through charges to earnings would materially decrease our net income.

Additionally, bank regulators periodically review our allowance for credit losses and may require us to increase our provision for credit losses or loan charge-offs. Any increase in our allowance for credit losses or loan charge-offs as required by these regulatory authorities could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and/or financial condition.

We are subject to the CRA and fair lending laws, and failure to comply with these laws could lead to material penalties.

The CRA, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Housing Act and other fair lending laws and regulations impose nondiscriminatory lending requirements on financial institutions. With respect to the Bank, the NYSDFS, FRB, CFPB, the United States Department of Justice and other federal and state agencies are responsible for enforcing these laws and regulations. A successful regulatory challenge to an institution’s performance under the CRA or fair lending laws and regulations could result in a wide variety of sanctions, including the required payment of damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, imposition of restrictions on mergers and acquisitions activity and restrictions on expansion. Private parties may also have the ability to challenge an institution’s performance under fair lending laws in private class action litigation. Such actions could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The Company is subject to environmental liability risk associated with lending activities.

A significant portion of the Company’s loan portfolio is secured by real property. During the ordinary course of business, the Company may foreclose on and take title to properties securing certain loans. In doing so, there is a risk that hazardous or toxic substances could be found on these properties. If hazardous or toxic substances are found, the Company may be liable for remediation costs, as well as for personal injury and property damage. Environmental laws may require the Company to incur substantial expenses and may materially reduce the affected property’s value or limit the Company’s ability to use or sell the affected property. In addition, future laws or more stringent interpretations or enforcement policies with respect to existing laws may increase the Company’s exposure to environmental liability. Environmental reviews of real property before initiating foreclosure may not be sufficient to detect all potential environmental hazards. The remediation costs and any other financial liabilities associated with an environmental hazard could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Risks Related to Interest Rates

Changes in interest rates could affect our profitability.

Our ability to earn a profit, like most financial institutions, depends primarily on net interest income, which is the difference between the interest income that we earn on our interest-earning assets, such as loans and investments, and the interest expense that we pay on our interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings. Our profitability depends on our ability to manage our assets and liabilities during periods of changing market interest rates.

During 2022 and 2023, in response to accelerated inflation, the Federal Reserve implemented monetary tightening policies, resulting in significantly increased interest rates. In a period of rising interest rates, the interest income earned on our assets may not increase as rapidly as the interest paid on our liabilities, demand for loan products may decline, and borrower defaults on loan payments may increase.

A sustained decrease in market interest rates could also adversely affect our earnings. When interest rates decline, borrowers tend to refinance higher-rate, fixed-rate loans at lower rates. Under those circumstances, we may not be able to reinvest those prepayments in assets earning interest rates as high as the rates on those prepaid loans or in investment securities.

Changes in interest rates also affect the fair value of the securities portfolio. Generally, the fair value of securities moves inversely with changes in interest rates. As of December 31, 2023, the carrying value of the securities portfolio totaled $1.48 billion.

Management is unable to predict fluctuations of market interest rates, which are affected by many factors, including inflation, recession, unemployment, monetary policy, domestic and international disorder and instability in domestic and foreign financial markets, and investor and consumer demand.

Risks Related to Regulation

We operate in a highly regulated environment, Federal and state regulators periodically examine our business, and we may be required to remediate adverse examination findings.

The FRB and the NYSDFS periodically examine our business, including our compliance with laws and regulations. If, as a result of an examination, a federal banking agency were to determine that our financial condition, capital resources, asset quality, earnings prospects, management, liquidity or other aspects of any of our operations had become unsatisfactory, or that we were in violation of any law or regulation, we may take a number of different remedial actions as we deem appropriate. These actions include the power to enjoin “unsafe or unsound” practices, to require affirmative action to correct any conditions resulting from any violation or practice, to issue an administrative order that can be judicially enforced, to direct an increase in our capital, to restrict our growth, to assess civil monetary penalties against our officers or directors, to remove officers and directors and, if it is concluded that such conditions cannot be corrected or there is an imminent risk of loss to depositors, to terminate our deposit insurance and place it into receivership or conservatorship. If we become subject to any regulatory actions, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and growth prospects.

Additionally, the CFPB has the authority to issue consumer finance regulations and is authorized, individually or jointly with bank regulatory agencies, to conduct investigations to determine whether any person is, or has, engaged in conduct that violates new and existing consumer financial laws or regulations.  Banks with assets in excess of $10 billion are subject to requirements imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act and its implemented regulations, including the examination authority of the CFPB to assess our compliance with federal consumer financial laws, imposition of higher FDIC premiums, reduced debit card interchange fees, and enhanced risk management frameworks, all of which increase operating costs and reduce earnings. In addition, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding entered into between the CFPB and U.S. Department of Justice, the two agencies have agreed to coordinate efforts related to enforcing the fair

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lending laws, which includes information sharing and conducting joint investigations, and have done so on a number of occasions.

We face a risk of noncompliance and enforcement action with the federal Bank Secrecy Act (the “BSA”) and other anti-money laundering and counter terrorist financing statutes and regulations.

The BSA, the USA PATRIOT Act and other laws and regulations require financial institutions, among others, to institute and maintain an effective anti-money laundering compliance program and to file reports such as suspicious activity reports and currency transaction reports. Our products and services, including our debit card issuing business, are subject to an increasingly strict set of legal and regulatory requirements intended to protect consumers and to help detect and prevent money laundering, terrorist financing and other illicit activities. We are required to comply with these and other anti-money laundering requirements. The federal banking agencies and the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network are authorized to impose significant civil money penalties for violations of those requirements and have recently engaged in coordinated enforcement efforts against banks and other financial services providers with the U.S. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration and Internal Revenue Service. We are also subject to increased scrutiny of compliance with the regulations administered and enforced by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. If we violate these laws and regulations, or our policies, procedures and systems are deemed deficient, we would be subject to liability, including fines and regulatory actions, which may include restrictions on our ability to pay dividends and the ability to obtain regulatory approvals to proceed with certain aspects of our business plan, including acquisitions.

Failure to maintain and implement adequate programs to combat money laundering and terrorist financing could also have serious reputational consequences for us. Any of these results could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and growth prospects.

Risks Related to our Debt Securities

The subordinated debentures that we issued have rights that are senior to those of our common shareholders.

In 2015, the Company issued $40.0 million of 5.75% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Debentures due 2030. In 2022, the Company issued $160.0 million of 5.00% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Debentures due 2032. Because these subordinated debentures rank senior to our common stock, if we fail to make timely principal and interest payments on the subordinated debentures, we may not pay any dividends on our common stock. Further, if we declare bankruptcy, dissolve or liquidate, we must satisfy all of our subordinated debenture obligations before we may pay any distributions on our common stock.

Strategic Risks

Expansion of our branch network may adversely affect our financial results.



The Bank has in the past and may in the future establish new branch offices. We cannot be certain that the opening of new branches will be accretive to earnings or that it will be accretive to earnings within a reasonable period of time. Numerous factors contribute to the performance of a new branch, such as suitable location, qualified personnel, and an effective marketing strategy. Additionally, it takes time for a new branch to gather sufficient loans and deposits to generate income sufficient to cover its operating expenses. Difficulties we experience in opening new branches may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.



Mergers and acquisitions involve numerous risks and uncertainties.



The Company has in the past and may in the future pursue mergers and acquisitions opportunities. Mergers and acquisitions involve a number of risks and challenges, including the expenses involved; potential diversion of management’s attention from other strategic matters; integration of branches and operations acquired; outflow of customers from the acquired branches; retention of personnel from acquired companies or branches; competing effectively in geographic areas not previously served; managing growth resulting from the transaction; and dilution in the acquirer's book and tangible book value per share.

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Our growth or future losses may require us to raise additional capital in the future, but that capital may not be available when it is needed or the cost of that capital may be very high.

We are required by federal and state regulatory authorities to maintain adequate levels of capital to support our operations. While we anticipate that our capital resources will satisfy our capital requirements for the foreseeable future, we may at some point need to raise additional capital to support our operations or continued growth, both internally and through acquisitions. Any capital we obtain may result in the dilution of the interests of existing holders of our common stock, or otherwise adversely affect your investment.

Our ability to raise additional capital, if needed, will depend on conditions in the capital markets at that time, which are outside our control, and on our financial condition and performance. Accordingly, we cannot make assurances of our ability to raise additional capital if needed, or if the terms will be acceptable to us. If we cannot raise additional capital when needed, our ability to further expand our operations through internal growth and acquisitions could be materially impaired and our financial condition and liquidity could be materially and adversely affected.

Operational Risk Factors

A lack of liquidity could adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.

Liquidity is essential to our business. The Company relies on its ability to generate deposits and effectively manage the repayment of its liabilities to ensure that there is adequate liquidity to fund operations. An inability to raise funds through deposits, borrowings, the sale and maturities of loans and securities and other sources could have a substantial negative effect on liquidity. The Company’s most important source of funds is its deposits. Deposit balances can decrease when customers perceive alternative investments as providing a better risk adjusted return, which are strongly influenced by such external factors as the direction of interest rates, local and national economic conditions and the availability and attractiveness of alternative investments. Further, the demand for deposits may be reduced due to a variety of factors such as negative trends in the banking sector, the level of and/or composition of our uninsured deposits, demographic patterns, changes in customer preferences, reductions in consumers’ disposable income, the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve or regulatory actions that decrease customer access to particular products. If customers move money out of bank deposits and into other investments such as money market funds, the Company would lose a relatively low-cost source of funds, which would increase its funding costs and reduce net interest income. Any changes made to the rates offered on deposits to remain competitive with other financial institutions may also adversely affect profitability and liquidity. Other primary sources of funds consist of cash flows from operations, maturities and sales of investment securities and/or loans, brokered deposits, borrowings from the FHLB and/or FRB discount window, and unsecured borrowings. The Company also may borrow funds from third-party lenders, such as other financial institutions. The Company’s access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance or capitalize its activities, or on terms that are acceptable, could be impaired by factors that affect the Company directly or the financial services industry or economy in general, such as disruptions in the financial markets or negative views and expectations about the prospects for the financial services industry, a decrease in the level of the Company’s business activity as a result of a downturn in markets or by one or more adverse regulatory actions against the Company or the financial sector in general. Any decline in available funding could adversely impact the Company’s ability to originate loans, invest in securities, meet expenses, or to fulfill obligations such as meeting deposit withdrawal demands, any of which could have a material adverse impact on its liquidity, business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business may be adversely affected by conditions in the financial markets and economic conditions generally.

A favorable business environment is generally characterized by, among other factors, economic growth, efficient capital markets, low inflation, high business and investor confidence, and strong business earnings. Unfavorable or uncertain economic and market conditions can be caused by declines in economic growth, declines in housing and real estate valuations, business activity or investor or business confidence; limitations on the availability or increases in the cost of credit and capital; increases in inflation; changes in market interest rates; geopolitical conflicts; natural disasters; or a combination of these or other factors.

The Company's performance could be negatively affected to the extent there is deterioration in business and economic conditions, including persistent inflation, an inverted yield curve, rising prices, and supply chain issues or labor shortages,

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which have direct or indirect material adverse impacts on us, our customers, and our counterparties. Recessionary conditions may significantly affect the markets in which we do business, the financial condition of our borrowers, the value of our loans and investments, and our ongoing operations, costs and profitability. Declines in real estate values and sales volumes and increased unemployment levels may result in higher than expected loan delinquencies, increases in our levels of nonperforming and classified assets and a decline in demand for our products and services. Such events may cause us to incur losses and may adversely affect our capital, liquidity, and financial condition.

Strong competition within our market area may limit our growth and profitability.

Our primary market area is located in Greater Long Island and Manhattan. Competition in the banking and financial services industry remains intense. Our profitability depends on the continued ability to successfully compete. We compete with commercial banks, savings banks, credit unions, insurance companies, and brokerage and investment banking firms. Many of our competitors have substantially greater resources and lending limits than us and may offer certain services that we do not provide. In addition, competitors may offer deposits at higher rates and loans with lower fixed rates, more attractive terms and less stringent credit structures than we have been willing to offer.

Our future success depends on the success and growth of Dime Community Bank.

Our primary business activity for the foreseeable future will be to act as the holding company of the Bank. Therefore, our future profitability will depend on the success and growth of this subsidiary. The continued and successful implementation of our growth strategy will require, among other things that we increase our market share by attracting new customers that currently bank at other financial institutions in our market area. In addition, our ability to successfully grow will depend on several factors, including favorable market conditions, the competitive responses from other financial institutions in our market area, and our ability to maintain good asset quality. While we believe we have the management resources, market opportunities and internal systems in place to obtain and successfully manage future growth, growth opportunities may not be available, and we may not be successful in continuing our growth strategy. In addition, continued growth requires that we incur additional expenses, including salaries, data processing and occupancy expense related to new branches and related support staff. Many of these increased expenses are considered fixed expenses. Unless we can successfully continue our growth, our results of operations could be negatively affected by these increased costs.

The loss of key personnel could impair our future success.

Our future success depends in part on the continued service of our executive officers, other key management, and staff, as well as our ability to continue to attract, motivate, and retain additional highly qualified employees. The loss of services of one or more of our key personnel or our inability to timely recruit replacements for such personnel, or to otherwise attract, motivate, or retain qualified personnel could have an adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

Our business may be adversely affected by fraud and other financial crimes.

Our loans to businesses and individuals and our deposit relationships and related transactions are subject to exposure to the risk of loss due to fraud and other financial crimes. While we have policies and procedures designed to prevent such losses, losses may still occur. In the past, we have experienced losses due to fraud.

Risks associated with system failures, interruptions, or breaches of security could negatively affect our operations and earnings.

Information technology systems are critical to our business. We collect, process and store sensitive customer data by utilizing computer systems and telecommunications networks operated by us and third-party service providers. We have established policies and procedures to prevent or limit the impact of system failures, interruptions, and security breaches, but such events may still occur or may not be adequately addressed if they do occur. Although we take numerous protective measures and otherwise endeavor to protect and maintain the privacy and security of confidential data, these systems may be vulnerable to unauthorized access, computer viruses, other malicious code, cyberattacks, including distributed denial of service attacks, hacking, social engineering and phishing attacks, cyber-theft and other events that could have a security impact. Cyber threats are rapidly evolving, and we may not be able to anticipate or prevent all such attacks. If one or more

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of such events were to occur, this potentially could jeopardize confidential and other information processed and stored in, and transmitted through, our systems or otherwise cause interruptions or malfunctions in our operations or our customers' operations.

In addition, we maintain interfaces with certain third-party service providers. If these third-party service providers encounter difficulties, or if we have difficulty communicating with them, our ability to adequately process and account for transactions could be affected, and our business operations could be adversely affected. Threats to information security also exist in the processing of customer information through various other vendors and their personnel.

The occurrence of any system failures, interruption, or breach of security could damage our reputation and result in a loss of customers and business subject us to additional regulatory scrutiny, and expose us to litigation and possible financial liability. We may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify our protective measures or to investigate and remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures, and we may be subject to litigation and financial losses that are not fully covered by our insurance. Any of these events could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Severe weather, acts of terrorism and other external events could impact our ability to conduct business.

Weather-related events have adversely impacted our market area in recent years, especially areas located near coastal waters and flood prone areas. Such events that may cause significant flooding and other storm-related damage may become more common events in the future. Financial institutions have been, and continue to be, targets of terrorist threats aimed at compromising operating and communication systems and the metropolitan New York area remains a central target for potential acts of terrorism. Such events could cause significant damage, impact the stability of our facilities and result in additional expenses, impair the ability of borrowers to repay their loans, reduce the value of collateral securing repayment of loans, and result in the loss of revenue. While we have established and regularly test disaster recovery procedures, the occurrence of any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, operations and financial condition.

Additionally, global markets may be adversely affected by natural disasters, the emergence of widespread health emergencies or pandemics like COVID-19, cyberattacks or campaigns, military conflict, terrorism or other geopolitical events. Global market fluctuations may affect our business liquidity. Also, any sudden or prolonged market downturn in the U.S. or abroad, as a result of the above factors or otherwise could result in a decline in revenue and adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition, including capital and liquidity levels.

Damage to the Company’s reputation could adversely impact our business.

The Company's reputation is important to our success. Our ability to attract and retain customers, investors, employees and advisors may depend upon external perceptions of the Company. Damage to the Company's reputation could cause significant harm to our business and prospects and may arise from numerous sources, including litigation or regulatory actions, compliance failures, customer services failures, or unethical behavior or misconduct of employees, advisors and counterparties. Adverse developments with respect to the financial services industry may also, by association, negatively impact the Company's reputation or result in greater regulatory or legislative scrutiny of or litigation against the Company.

Furthermore, shareholders and other stakeholders have begun to consider how corporations are addressing environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) issues. Governments, investors, customers and the general public are increasingly focused on ESG practices and disclosures, and views about ESG are diverse and rapidly changing. These shifts in investing priorities may result in adverse effects on the trading price of the Company’s common stock if investors determine that the Company has not made sufficient progress on ESG matters. The Company could also face potential negative ESG-related publicity in traditional media or social media if shareholders or other stakeholders determine that we have not adequately considered or addressed ESG matters. If the Company, or our relationships with certain customers, vendors or suppliers became the subject of negative publicity, our ability to attract and retain customers and employees, and our financial condition and results of operations, could be adversely impacted.

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Accounting-Related Risks

Changes in our accounting policies or in accounting standards could materially affect how we report our financial results.

Our accounting policies are fundamental to understanding our financial results and condition. Some of these policies require the use of estimates and assumptions that may affect the value of our assets or liabilities and financial results. Some of our accounting policies are critical because they require management to make difficult, subjective and complex judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain and because it is likely that materially different amounts would be reported under different conditions or using different assumptions. If such estimates or assumptions underlying our financial statements are incorrect, we may experience material losses.

From time to time, the FASB and the SEC change the financial accounting and reporting standards or the interpretation of those standards that govern the preparation of our external financial statements. These changes are beyond our control, can be hard to predict and could materially impact how we report our results of operations and financial condition. We could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively, resulting in our restating prior period financial statements in material amounts.

If we determine our goodwill or other intangible assets to be impaired, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations would be negatively affected.

When the Company completes a business combination, a portion of the purchase price of the acquisition is allocated to goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets. The amount of the purchase price which is allocated to goodwill and other intangible assets is determined by the excess of the purchase price over the net identifiable assets acquired. At least annually (or more frequently if indicators arise), the Company evaluates goodwill for impairment. If the Company determines goodwill or other intangible assets are impaired, the Company will be required to write down these assets. Any write-down would have a negative effect on the consolidated financial statements.

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

Not applicable.

Item 1C. Cybersecurity

Overview

Dime Community Bank (“Dime”, “the Bank”) maintains comprehensive information technology and cybersecurity programs which encompass policies, procedures, assessments, monitoring, response plans, and testing to ensure technical, administrative, and physical controls are effective.  
Dime’s Cybersecurity Incident Response and Business Continuity Programs are inclusive of cyber resiliency, business continuity and disaster recovery strategies to help mitigate the impact of a cybersecurity incident across all business lines.  

Management Role and Board Oversight.

The cybersecurity program is overseen by the Chief Information Security Officer (“CISO”) reporting into the Chief Risk Officer (“CRO”), the Enterprise Risk Management Committee, which consists of the CEO, CFO, and CTO among others, and the Enterprise Risk Committee of the Board of Directors, which consists of three independent directors. Our Board of Directors includes members who have expertise in cybersecurity, data privacy law, fraud and risk management. Cybersecurity risks are primarily assessed, monitored, and remediated by the CISO, who has extensive experience in the Information Technology and cybersecurity fields and maintains advanced cybersecurity centric certifications. The CISO’s extensive knowledge and experience in the cybersecurity field are critical to executing our cybersecurity program. Our CISO oversees proactive initiatives, remediation plans of known risks, compliance with regulations and standards, and Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity, and Incident Response efforts. Additionally, the Bank’s Risk Management function is led by the CRO, who has extensive experience in risk management and audit. The cybersecurity program includes a cross-sectional team of internal and external Information Security professionals, all of which are provided with relevant

21

training and are required to maintain industry accredited certifications. Our Incident Response Team is chaired by our CISO and is comprised of executive management and designated managers throughout the organization. The purpose of the Incident Response Plan is to manage Information Security, and related incidents, efficiently and effectively to minimize loss and destruction, mitigate weaknesses, restore services, and notify customers, as required by state law, comply with regulatory requirements, and any third-party contractual obligations.

The CISO and CRO play a pivotal role in informing the Board of all cybersecurity risks. These positions provide comprehensive updates to the Enterprise Risk Committee of the Board, at least quarterly. The briefings combine a range of updates, including the cybersecurity program, emerging risks, status of operational changes, status of regulatory compliance, and risk reporting.

Managing Material Risks & Integrated Overall Risk Management

The Bank maintains documented processes, procedures, and controls for assessing, identifying, and managing material risks from cybersecurity threats. Cybersecurity threats are identified utilizing risk assessments, detection tools, information gathering and performing internal, external, and third-party contracted security assessments.

Cybersecurity Threats

To assess and manage cybersecurity threats from material risks, Dime maintains an Incident Response Team comprised of members from the major business areas in the Bank to ensure appropriate subject matter experts are represented. All cybersecurity events include a determination of whether the incident has materially affected or is reasonably likely to materially affect the Bank’s business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition by following implemented processes.

Dime has not identified any cybersecurity threats that have materially affected operations or financial position.

Oversee Third-Party Risk

Dime has processes to oversee and identify material risks from reported cybersecurity threats from any third-party service providers or vendors. The Bank’s Third-Party Risk Management Program requires an initial due diligence, on-going monitoring, and annual recertification of third-party cybersecurity controls.  

Cybersecurity Risks

Dime considers Cybersecurity Risks as part of our strategic planning process. Management and the Board of Directors acknowledge that technology systems, managed both by Dime and third-party service providers, are critical to business operations and therefore require appropriate risk management.

Engagement With Third-Parties on Risk Management

Cybersecurity is part of Dime’s overall risk management program, which is supported through the use of consultants, auditors and other third-parties who assist with reviewing and validating the effectiveness of cybersecurity controls. Internal Audit actively participates and engages with those managing the cybersecurity program to validate the effectiveness of implemented safeguards. External audit results are reviewed and reported on in our annual filing. Additionally, Dime is a regulated entity and undergoes regulatory reviews to ensure the Bank remains in compliance with all appropriate standards.  

22

Item 2. Properties

The Company’s corporate headquarters is located at 898 Veterans Memorial Highway in Hauppauge, New York. The Bank’s main office is located at 2200 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton, New York.

As of December 31, 2023, we operated 60 branch locations throughout Greater Long Island and Manhattan, of which 45 were leased and 15 were owned.

For additional information on our premises and equipment, see Note 7. “Premises and Fixed Assets, net and Premises Held for Sale” in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

In the ordinary course of business, the Holding Company and the Bank are routinely named as a defendant in or party to various pending or threatened legal actions or proceedings. Certain of these matters may seek substantial monetary damages against the Holding Company or the Bank. In the opinion of management, as of December 31, 2023, neither the Holding Company nor the Bank were involved in any actions or proceedings that were likely to have a material adverse impact on the Company’s consolidated financial condition and results of operations.

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

Not applicable.

23

PART II

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Our common stock trades on the NASDAQ® Stock Market under the symbol “DCOM”. Prior to the Merger, our common shares were traded under the symbol “BDGE”. At February 15, 2024, we had approximately 1,117 shareholders of record, not including the number of persons or entities holding stock in nominee or the street name through various banks and brokers.

DCOM Performance Graph

Pursuant to the regulations of the SEC, the graph below compares our performance with that of the total return for the NASDAQ® Composite Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 Banks Index from December 31, 2018 through December 31, 2023. The graph assumes the reinvestment of dividends in additional shares of the same class of equity securities as those listed below. The following performance graph reflects the performance of BDGE prior to the Merger.

Graphic

    

Year Ended December 31, 

Index

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

    

2021

    

2022

    

2023

Dime Community Bancshares, Inc.

100.00

 

135.73

 

102.50

153.01

 

142.61

 

126.19

S&P SmallCap 600 Banks Index

100.00

 

122.85

 

109.63

 

147.16

 

132.62

 

132.66

NASDAQ Composite Index

100.00

 

136.69

 

198.10

 

242.03

 

163.28

 

236.17

24

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

In May 2022, we announced the adoption of a new stock repurchase program of up to 1,948,314 shares, upon the completion of our existing authorized stock repurchase program. The stock repurchase program may be suspended, terminated, or modified at any time for any reason, and has no termination date. As of December 31, 2023, there were 1,566,947 shares remaining to be purchased in the program. There were no repurchases of common stock during the quarter ended December 31, 2023. During the year ended December 31, 2023, the Company repurchased 36,813 shares of common stock, at an average cost of $25.98.

Item 6. [Reserved]

Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

In this Annual Report on Form 10-K, unless otherwise mentioned, the terms the “Company”, “we”, “us” and “our” refer to Dime Community Bancshares, Inc. and our wholly-owned subsidiary, Dime Community Bank (the “Bank”). We use the term “Holding Company” to refer solely to Dime Community Bancshares, Inc. and not to our consolidated subsidiary.

Overview

Dime Community Bancshares, Inc., a New York corporation, is a bank holding company formed in 1988. On a parent-only basis, the Holding Company has minimal operations, other than as owner of Dime Community Bank. The Holding Company is dependent on dividends from its wholly-owned subsidiary, Dime Community Bank, its own earnings, additional capital raised, and borrowings as sources of funds. The information in this report reflects principally the financial condition and results of operations of the Bank. The Bank's results of operations are primarily dependent on its net interest income, which is the difference between interest income on loans and investments and interest expense on deposits and borrowings. The Bank also generates non-interest income, such as fee income on deposit and loan accounts, merchant credit and debit card processing programs, loan swap fees, investment services, income from its title insurance subsidiary, and net gains on sales of securities and loans. The level of non-interest expenses, such as salaries and benefits, occupancy and equipment costs, other general and administrative expenses, expenses from the Bank’s title insurance subsidiary, and income tax expense, further affects our net income. Certain reclassifications have been made to prior year amounts and the related discussion and analysis to conform to the current year presentation. These reclassifications did not have an impact on net income or total stockholders' equity.

Critical Accounting Estimates

Critical accounting estimates are those estimates made in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles that involve a significant level of estimation uncertainty and have had or are reasonably likely to have a material impact on the financial condition or the results of the operations of the Registrant. Note 1 Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (page 51), to the Company’s Audited Consolidated Financial Statement for the year ended December 31, 2023 contains a summary of significant accounting policies. These accounting policies may require various levels of subjectivity, estimates or judgment by management. Policies with respect to the methodologies it uses to determine the allowance for credit losses on loans held for investment and fair value of loans acquired in a business combinations are critical accounting policies because they are important to the presentation of the Company’s consolidated financial condition and results of operations. These critical accounting estimates involve a significant degree of complexity and require management to make difficult and subjective judgments which often necessitate assumptions or estimates about highly uncertain matters. The use of different judgments, assumptions or estimates could result in material variations in the Company’s consolidated results of operations or financial condition.

Management has reviewed the following critical accounting estimates and related disclosures with its Audit Committee.

25

Allowance for Credit Losses on Loans Held for Investment

Methods and Assumptions Underlying the Estimate

On January 1, 2021, we adopted the Current Expected Credit Losses (“CECL”) Standard, which requires that loans held for investment be accounted for under the current expected credit losses model. The allowance for credit losses is established and maintained through a provision for credit losses based on expected losses inherent in our loan portfolio. Management evaluates the adequacy of the allowance on a quarterly basis, and additions to the allowance are charged to expense and realized losses, net of recoveries, are charged against the allowance.

Determining the appropriateness of the allowance is complex and requires judgment by management about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain. In determining the allowance for credit losses for loans that share similar risk characteristics, the Company utilizes a model which compares the amortized cost basis of the loan to the net present value of expected cash flows to be collected. Expected credit losses are determined by aggregating the individual cash flows and calculating a loss percentage by loan segment, or pool, for loans that share similar risk characteristics. For a loan that does not share risk characteristics with other loans, the Company will evaluate the loan on an individual basis. Within the model, assumptions are made in the determination of probability of default, loss given default, reasonable and supportable economic forecasts, prepayment rate, curtailment rate, and recovery lag periods. Management assesses the sensitivity of key assumptions at least annually by stressing the assumptions to understand the impact on the model. At June 30, 2023, if the four-quarter national unemployment rate forecast had increased 100 basis points our quantitative ACL reserve would have increased 10.5%. Changes in quantitative inputs may not occur in the same direction or magnitude across all segments of our loan portfolio and deterioration in some quantitative inputs may offset improvement in others. This sensitivity analysis does not represent a change to our expectations of the economic environment but provides a hypothetical result to assess the sensitivity of the ACL to a change in a key input. This sensitivity analysis does not incorporate changes to management’s judgment of qualitative loss factors.

Statistical regression is utilized to relate historical macro-economic variables to historical credit loss experience of a peer group of banks that operate in and around Dime’s footprint. These models are then utilized to forecast future expected loan losses based on expected future behavior of the same macro-economic variables. Adjustments to the quantitative results are made using qualitative factors, which are subjective and require significant management judgment. These factors include: (1) lending policies and procedures; (2) international, national, regional and local economic business conditions and developments that affect the collectability of the portfolio, including the condition of various markets; (3) the nature and volume of the loan portfolio; (4) the experience, ability, and depth of the lending management and other relevant staff; (5) the volume and severity of past due loans; (6) the quality of our loan review system; (7) the value of underlying collateral for collateralized loans; (8) the existence and effect of any concentrations of credit, and changes in the level of such concentrations; and (9) the effect of external factors such as competition and legal and regulatory requirements on the level of estimated credit losses in the existing portfolio.

For loans that do not share risk characteristics, the Company evaluates these loans on an individual basis based on various factors. Factors that may be considered are borrower delinquency trends and non-accrual status, probability of foreclosure or note sale, changes in the borrower’s circumstances or cash collections, borrower’s industry, or other facts and circumstances of the loan or collateral. The expected credit loss is measured based on net realizable value, that is, the difference between the discounted value of the expected future cash flows, based on the original effective interest rate, and the amortized cost basis of the loan. For collateral dependent loans, expected credit loss is measured as the difference between the amortized cost basis of the loan and the fair value of the collateral, less estimated costs to sell.

Uncertainties Regarding the Estimate

Estimating the timing and amounts of future losses is subject to significant management judgment as these projected cash flows rely upon the estimates discussed above and factors that are reflective of current or future expected conditions. These estimates depend on the duration of current overall economic conditions, industry, borrower, or portfolio specific conditions. Volatility in certain credit metrics and differences between expected and actual outcomes are to be expected.

Customers may not repay their loans according to the original terms, and the collateral securing the payment of those loans may be insufficient to pay any remaining loan balance. Bank regulators periodically review our allowance for credit losses and may require us to increase our provision for credit losses or loan charge-offs.

26

Impact on Financial Condition and Results of Operations

If our assumptions prove to be incorrect, the allowance for credit losses may not be sufficient to cover expected losses in the loan portfolio, resulting in additions to the allowance. Future additions or reductions to the allowance may be necessary based on changes in economic, market or other conditions. Changes in estimates could result in a material change in the allowance through charges to earnings and would materially decrease our net income.

We may experience significant credit losses if borrowers experience financial difficulties, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results.

In addition, various regulatory agencies, as an integral part of the examination process, periodically review the allowance for credit losses. Such agencies may require the Bank to recognize adjustments to the allowance based on their judgments of the information available to them at the time of their examination.

Fair value of loans acquired in a business combination

Methods and Assumptions Underlying the Estimate

On February 1, 2021, the Company completed a merger of equals business combination accounted for as a reverse merger using the acquisition method of accounting. As a part of accounting for the Merger, fair value estimates were calculated with a combination of assumptions by management and by using a third party. The fair value often involved third-party estimates utilizing input assumptions by management which may be complex or uncertain. The fair value of acquired loans was based on a discounted cash flow methodology that considers factors such as type of loan and related collateral, and requires management’s judgment on estimates about discount rates, expected future cash flows, market conditions and other future events.

For purchased financial loans with credit deterioration (“PCD”), an estimate of expected credit losses was made for loans with similar risk characteristics and was added to the purchase price to establish the initial amortized cost basis of the PCD loans. Any difference between the unpaid principal balance and the amortized cost basis is considered to relate to non-credit factors and resulted in a discount or premium. Discounts and premiums are recognized through interest income on a level-yield method over the life of the loans. For acquired loans not deemed PCD at acquisition, the differences between the initial fair value and the unpaid principal balance are recognized as interest income on a level-yield basis over the lives of the related loans.

Uncertainties Regarding the Estimate

Management relied on economic forecasts, internal valuations, or other relevant factors which were available at the time of the Merger in the determination of the assumptions used to calculate the fair value of the acquired loans. The estimates about discount rates, expected future cash flows, market conditions and other future events were subjective and may differ from estimates.

Impact on Financial Condition and Results of Operations

The estimate of fair values on acquired loans contributed to the recorded goodwill from the Merger. In future income statement periods, interest income on loans will include the amortization and accretion of any premiums and discounts resulting from the fair value of acquired loans. Additionally, the provision for credit losses on acquired individually analyzed PCD loans may be impacted due to changes in the assumptions used to calculate expected cash flows.

Comparison of Operating Results For The Years Ended December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021

The Company’s results of operations for the year ended December 31, 2021, include income for the eleven months following the Merger and the results of Legacy Dime for the month ended January 31, 2021. The Company’s historical operating results as of and for periods before February 1, 2021, as presented and discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, do not include the historical results of Bridge.

27

General.  Net income was $96.1 million in 2023, compared to $152.6 million in 2022, and $104.0 million in 2021.  During 2023, net interest income decreased by $63.3 million, non-interest expense increased by $12.4 million and non-interest income decreased by $2.0 million, partially offset by a decrease of $18.6 million in income tax expense and a decrease of $2.6 million in provision for credit losses. During 2022, net interest income increased by $22.3 million, provision for credit losses decreased by $0.8 million, and non-interest expense decreased by $44.6 million, partially offset by a non-interest income decrease of $3.9 million and an income tax expense increase of $15.2 million. During 2021, net interest income increased by $179.9 million, provision for credit losses decreased by $20.0 million and non-interest income increased $20.8 million, partially offset by a non-interest expense increase of $127.5 million and an income tax expense increase of $31.5 million.

The discussion of net interest income for the years ended December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021 should be read in conjunction with the following tables, which set forth certain information related to the consolidated statements of operations for those periods, and which also present the average yield on assets and average cost of liabilities for the periods indicated. The average yields and costs were derived by dividing income or expense by the average balance of their related assets or liabilities during the periods represented. Average balances were derived from average daily balances. No tax-equivalent adjustments have been made for interest income exempt from Federal, state, and local taxation. The yields include loan fees consisting of amortization of loan origination and commitment fees and certain direct and indirect origination costs, prepayment fees, and late charges that are considered adjustments to yields. Loan fees included in interest income were $1.5 million in 2023, $3.1 million in 2022, and $12.5 million in 2021. The decrease in loan fees in 2023 was primarily due to a decline in loan prepayment fees. There are no out-of-period adjustments included in the rate/volume analysis in the following table.

28

Average Balance Sheets

Year Ended December 31, 

2023

2022

2021

    

    

Average

    

    

    

Average

    

    

    

Average

    

Average

Yield/

Average

Yield/

Average

Yield/

Balance

    

Interest

    

Cost

    

Balance

    

Interest

    

Cost

    

Balance

    

Interest

    

Cost

    

Assets:

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Interest-earning assets:

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Real estate loans (1) (4)

$

9,708,119

$

473,425

 

4.88

%  

$

8,798,852

$

354,418

 

4.03

%  

$

7,969,344

$

298,682

 

3.75

%  

Commercial and industrial loans ("C&I") (1)

 

1,049,965

 

80,670

 

7.68

 

937,542

 

51,556

 

5.50

 

1,494,970

 

58,909

 

3.94

Other loans (1)

 

6,514

 

393

 

6.03

 

11,493

 

627

 

5.46

 

19,891

 

1,425

 

7.16

Securities

 

1,640,066

 

32,179

 

1.96

 

1,687,835

 

29,224

 

1.73

 

1,295,439

 

22,634

 

1.75

Other short-term investments

 

442,574

 

22,693

 

5.13

 

248,779

 

3,400

 

1.37

 

574,467

 

2,976

 

0.52

Total interest-earning assets

 

12,847,238

609,360

 

4.74

 

11,684,501

439,225

 

3.76

 

11,354,111

384,626

 

3.39

Non-interest earning assets

 

777,977

 

 

 

782,261

 

  

 

  

 

758,689

 

  

 

  

Total assets

$

13,625,215

$

12,466,762

 

  

 

  

$

12,112,800

 

  

 

  

Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity:

 

  

 

  

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Interest-bearing liabilities:

 

  

 

  

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Interest-bearing checking

$

775,904

$

8,562

1.10

%  

$

851,931

$

3,115

 

0.37

%  

$

924,122

$

1,655

 

0.18

%  

Money market

 

2,882,859

 

83,950

2.91

 

2,971,312

 

10,879

 

0.37

 

3,491,870

 

6,521

 

0.19

Savings

 

2,311,275

 

73,270

3.17

 

1,815,198

 

15,906

 

0.88

 

1,142,111

 

697

 

0.06

Certificates of deposit ("CDs")

 

1,444,554

 

53,263

3.69

 

926,837

 

8,533

 

0.92

 

1,247,425

 

7,654

 

0.61

Total interest-bearing deposits

 

7,414,592

 

219,045

2.95

 

6,565,278

 

38,433

 

0.59

 

6,805,528

 

16,527

 

0.24

FHLBNY advances

 

1,251,871

56,140

4.48

 

252,838

7,062

 

2.79

 

259,203

1,963

 

0.76

Subordinated debt, net

200,243

10,212

5.10

217,753

10,616

4.88

190,128

8,523

4.48

Other short-term borrowings

3,150

120

3.81

56,030

1,439

2.57

6,282

4

0.06

Total borrowings

1,455,264

66,472

4.57

526,621

19,117

3.63

455,613

10,490

2.30

Derivative cash collateral

143,735

7,272

5.06

97,225

1,812

1.86

1,982

Total interest-bearing liabilities

9,013,591

292,789

3.25

7,189,124

59,362

0.83

7,263,123

27,017

0.37

Non-interest-bearing checking

3,126,575

3,890,642

3,513,354

Other non-interest-bearing liabilities

270,033

218,194

175,075

Total liabilities

 

12,410,199

 

 

11,297,960

 

  

 

 

10,951,552

 

  

 

  

Stockholders' equity

 

1,215,016

 

 

1,168,802

 

  

 

  

 

1,161,248

 

  

 

  

Total liabilities and stockholders' equity

$

13,625,215

 

$

12,466,762

 

  

 

  

$

12,112,800

 

  

 

  

Net interest income

 

$

316,571

 

$

379,863

 

  

 

$

357,609

 

  

Net interest spread (2)

1.49

%  

 

  

2.93

%  

 

  

 

3.02

%  

Net interest-earning assets

$

3,833,647

$

4,495,377

$

4,090,988

 

Net interest margin (3)

 

 

2.46

%  

 

  

 

  

3.25

%  

 

  

 

  

 

3.15

%  

Ratio of interest-earning assets to interest-bearing liabilities

142.53

%  

 

  

162.53

%  

 

  

 

156.33

%  

Deposits (including non-interest-bearing checking accounts)

$

10,541,167

$

219,045

2.08

%  

$

10,455,920

$

38,433

0.37

%  

$

10,318,882

$

16,527

 

0.16

%  

(1)Amounts are net of deferred origination costs/ (fees) and allowance for credit losses, and include loans held for sale.
(2)Net interest rate spread represents the difference between the yield on average interest-earning assets and the cost of average interest-bearing liabilities.
(3)Net interest margin represents net interest income divided by average interest-earning assets.
(4)At December 31, 2023, the loan portfolio included a fair value hedge basis point adjustment to the carrying amount of hedged one-to-four family residential mortgage loans, multifamily residential mortgage loans and CRE loans.

29

Rate/Volume Analysis

Year Ended December 31, 

2023 over 2022

2022 over 2021

Increase/(Decrease) Due to

Increase/(Decrease) Due to

(In thousands)

Volume

    

Rate

    

Total

    

Volume

    

Rate

    

Total

Interest-earning assets:

Real estate loans (1)

$

40,430

$

78,577

$

119,007

$

32,265

$

23,471

$

55,736

C&I (1)

 

7,429

 

21,685

 

29,114

 

(26,319)

 

18,966

 

(7,353)

Other loans (1)

 

(286)

 

52

 

(234)

 

(531)

 

(267)

 

(798)

Securities

 

(877)

 

3,832

 

2,955

 

6,858