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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 or 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from              to             .
Commission file number: 001-11713
OceanFirst Financial Corp.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 22-3412577
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
 (I.R.S. Employer
Identification No.)
110 West Front Street, Red Bank, New Jersey 07701
(Address of principal executive offices)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (732240-4500
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading symbolName of each exchange in which registered
Common stock, $0.01 par value per shareOCFCNASDAQ
Depositary Shares (each representing a 1/40th interest in a share of 7.0% Series A Non-Cumulative, perpetual preferred stock)OCFCPNASDAQ
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  x    No  ¨.
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.    Yes  ¨    No  x.
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 12 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  x   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  x    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 the 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
 x
Accelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting companyEmerging 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 final accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.    o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 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 fair value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, i.e., persons other than the directors and executive officers of the registrant, was $903,497,773 based upon the closing price of such common equity as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter.
The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s Common Stock as of February 20, 2024 was 58,953,536.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Proxy Statement for the 2024 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days from December 31, 2023, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Form 10-K.



INDEX
 
  PAGE
PART I
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 1C.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
PART II
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
Item 9C.
PART III
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
PART IV
Item 15.
Item 16.
2


 
PART I

Item 1.Business

General
OceanFirst Financial Corp. (the “Company”) is incorporated under Delaware law and serves as the holding company for OceanFirst Bank N.A. (the “Bank”). At December 31, 2023, the Company had consolidated total assets of $13.5 billion and total stockholders’ equity of $1.7 billion. The Company is subject to regulation by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “FRB”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). The Bank is primarily subject to regulation and supervision by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the “CFPB”). Currently, the Company transacts the vast majority of its business through the Bank, its subsidiary.
The Company has been the holding company for the Bank since the Company’s initial public offering. Effective January 31, 2018, the Bank converted to a national bank charter and the Company became a bank holding company. The Bank’s principal business is originating loans, consisting of commercial real estate and other commercial loans, which have become a key focus of the Bank, and single-family, owner-occupied residential mortgage loans. The Bank also invests in other types of loans, including residential construction and consumer loans. The Bank primarily funds these loans by attracting retail and commercial deposits. In addition, the Bank invests in mortgage-backed securities (“MBS”), securities issued by the U.S. Government and agencies thereof, corporate securities and other investments permitted by applicable law and regulations. The Bank’s revenues are derived principally from interest on its loans, and to a lesser extent, interest on its debt and equity securities. The Bank also receives income from other products and services it offers including bankcard services, trust and asset management products and services, deposit account services, and commercial loan swap income. The Bank’s primary sources of funds are deposits, principal and interest payments on loans and investments, Federal Home Loan Bank (“FHLB”) advances, and other borrowings. While scheduled payments on loans and securities are predictable sources of funds, deposit flows, loan prepayments, and loan and investment sales are greatly influenced by changes in market interest rates, competition, general economic conditions, including levels of unemployment and real estate values, and inflation.
The Company’s website address is www.oceanfirst.com. The Company’s annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and all amendments to those reports are available free of charge through its website, as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The Company’s website and the information contained therein or connected thereto are not intended to be incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Forward-Looking Statements
In addition to historical information, this Form 10-K contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are based on certain assumptions and describe future plans, strategies and expectations of the Company. These forward-looking statements are generally identified by use of the words “believe”, “expect”, “intend”, “anticipate”, “estimate”, “project”, “will”, “should”, “may”, “view”, “opportunity”, “potential”, or similar expressions or expressions of confidence. The Company’s ability to predict results or the actual effect of future plans or strategies is inherently uncertain. Factors which could have a material adverse effect on the operations of the Company and its subsidiaries include, but are not limited to, those items discussed under Item 1A. Risk Factors herein and the following: changes in interest rates, inflation, general economic conditions, potential recessionary conditions, levels of unemployment in the Company’s lending area, real estate market values in the Company’s lending area, potential goodwill impairment, natural disasters, potential increases to flood insurance premiums, the current or anticipated impact of military conflict, terrorism or other geopolitical events, the level of prepayments on loans and mortgage-backed securities, legislative/regulatory changes, monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. Government including policies of the U.S. Treasury and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the quality or composition of the loan or investment portfolios, demand for loan products, deposit flows, changes in liquidity, including the size and composition of the Company’s deposit portfolio, including the percentage of uninsured deposits in the portfolio, changes in capital management and balance sheet strategies and the ability to successfully implement such strategies, competition, demand for financial services in the Company’s market area, changes in consumer spending, borrowing and saving habits, changes in accounting principles, a failure in or breach of the Company’s operational or security systems or infrastructure, including cyberattacks, the failure to maintain current technologies, failure to retain or attract employees, the effect of the Company’s rating under the Community Reinvestment Act, the impact of pandemics on our operations and financial results and those of our customers and the Bank’s ability to successfully integrate acquired operations.
3


These risks and uncertainties should be considered in evaluating forward-looking statements and undue reliance should not be placed on such statements. The Company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to publicly release the result of any revisions which may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events.

Market Area and Competition
The Bank is a regional community bank offering a wide variety of financial accounts and services to meet the needs of customers in the communities it serves. At December 31, 2023, the Bank primarily operated its business through its headquarters located in Toms River, New Jersey, and its administrative office located in Red Bank, New Jersey. The Bank also conducts its business at 39 branch offices and various deposit production facilities located throughout central and southern New Jersey and the greater metropolitan areas of New York City and Philadelphia. The Bank also operates commercial loan production offices in New Jersey, New York City, the greater Philadelphia area, Baltimore, and Boston.
One of the largest and oldest financial institutions in New Jersey, the Bank’s headquarters are approximately midway between New York City and Philadelphia. The economy in the Bank’s primary market area, which represents central and southern New Jersey, is based on a mixture of service and retail trade, with other employment provided by a variety of wholesale trade, manufacturing, federal, state and local government, hospitals and utilities. The area is home to commuters working in and around New York City and Philadelphia and also includes a significant number of vacation and second homes in the communities along the New Jersey shore. In addition, the Bank provides banking services through teams located in the major metropolitan markets of Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Boston.
The Bank’s future growth opportunities will be influenced by the growth and stability of its geographic marketplace and the competitive environment. The Bank faces significant competition in making loans and attracting deposits. In addition, rapid technological changes and consumer preferences will continue to result in increased competition for the Bank’s digital services as a number of well-funded technology-focused companies are innovating in the payments, distributed ledger, and cryptocurrency networks to disintermediate portions of the traditional banking model. The state of New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston are also attractive markets to many financial institutions. Many of the Bank’s competitors are significantly larger institutions that have greater financial resources than the Bank. The Bank’s competition for loans comes principally from commercial banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations, credit unions, mortgage banking companies, internet-based providers, insurance companies, private lenders, and government sponsored enterprises. Its most direct competition for deposits has historically come from commercial banks, savings banks, savings and loan associations, and credit unions. The Bank also faces competition for deposits from short-term money market funds, other corporate and government securities funds, internet-only providers, and from other financial service institutions such as brokerage firms and insurance companies. The Bank distinguishes itself from large bank competitors with teams of local financial experts in each market providing personalized accounts, extraordinary customer service and local decision-making.
Community Involvement
The Bank promotes efforts to enhance the quality of life in the communities it serves through employee volunteer efforts and the work of OceanFirst Foundation (the “Foundation”). Employees are encouraged to help their neighbors in many ways and receive up to eight hours of Bank-paid volunteer time each year. The Company’s employees, known as the WaveMakers when helping in the community, collectively spend thousands of hours volunteering and serving in leadership roles with local nonprofit organizations, along with participating in other activities that contribute to improving the quality of life for others. In 2023, the WaveMakers spent nearly 7,000 hours volunteering their time and talents to help neighbors in need and the second annual Bank-wide volunteering event was held in September 2023 with more than 730 employees completing 95 projects for non-profit organization partners in the five states served by the Bank. The Foundation, established in 1996 during the Company’s initial public offering, has granted over $48.1 million to enrich the lives of local citizens by supporting initiatives in health and human services, education, affordable housing, youth development, and the arts.
4


Lending Activities
Loan Portfolio Composition. At December 31, 2023, the Bank had total loans outstanding of $10.20 billion, of which $6.30 billion, or 61.8% of total loans, were commercial real estate, multi-family, and land loans (collectively, “commercial real estate”). The remainder of the portfolio consisted of $666.5 million of commercial and industrial loans, or 6.5% of total loans; $2.98 billion of residential real estate loans, or 29.3% of total loans; and $250.7 million of consumer loans, primarily home equity loans and lines of credit, or 2.5% of total loans. At December 31, 2023, the Bank had $5.2 million of loans held-for-sale. Additionally, at December 31, 2023, 44.2% of the Bank’s total loans had adjustable interest rates.
The types of loans that the Bank may originate are subject to federal and state laws and regulations. Interest rates charged by the Bank on loans are affected by the demand for such loans and the supply of money available for lending purposes and the rates offered by competitors. These factors are, in turn, affected by, among other things, economic conditions, monetary policies of the federal government, including the FRB, and legislative and tax policies.

The following table sets forth the composition of the Bank’s loan portfolio in dollar amounts and as a percentage of the portfolio at the dates indicated:
 
 At December 31,
 202320222021
 AmountPercent
of Total
AmountPercent
of Total
AmountPercent
of Total
 (dollars in thousands)
Commercial real estate$6,297,865 61.75 %$6,169,319 62.20 %$5,433,126 63.01 %
Commercial and industrial666,532 6.53 622,372 6.27 449,224 5.21 
Residential real estate2,984,700 29.26 2,862,681 28.86 2,479,701 28.76 
Consumer (1)
250,664 2.46 264,372 2.67 260,819 3.02 
Total loans10,199,761 100.00 %9,918,744 100.00 %8,622,870 100.00 %
Deferred origination costs (fees), net9,263 7,488 9,332 
Allowance for loan credit losses(67,137)(56,824)(48,850)
Loans receivable, net10,141,887 9,869,408 8,583,352 
Less:
Loans held for sale5,166 690 — 
Total loans receivable, net$10,136,721 $9,868,718 $8,583,352 
Total loans:
Fixed rate$5,696,173 55.85 %$5,760,562 58.08 %$5,459,920 63.32 %
Adjustable rate4,503,588 44.15 4,158,182 41.92 3,162,950 36.68 
$10,199,761 100.00 %$9,918,744 100.00 %$8,622,870 100.00 %
(1)Consists primarily of home equity loans, home equity lines of credit, student loans, and, to a lesser extent, loans on savings accounts and overdraft lines of credit.

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Loan Maturity. The following table shows the contractual maturity of the Bank’s total loans at December 31, 2023. The table does not include principal prepayments:
 At December 31, 2023
 Commercial Real EstateCommercial
and
Industrial
Residential
Real Estate
ConsumerTotal
Loans
Receivable
 (in thousands)
One year or less$697,407 $190,233 $6,014 $2,565 $896,219 
After one year:
More than one year to five years2,956,038 344,282 26,257 69,309 3,395,886 
More than five years to fifteen years2,579,185 108,722 286,828 110,606 3,085,341 
More than fifteen years65,235 23,295 2,665,601 68,184 2,822,315 
Total due after December 31, 20245,600,458 476,299 2,978,686 248,099 9,303,542 
Total amount due$6,297,865 $666,532 $2,984,700 $250,664 10,199,761 
Deferred origination costs (fees), net9,263 
Allowance for loan credit losses(67,137)
Loans receivable, net$10,141,887 
Less: loans held-for-sale5,166 
Total loans receivable, net$10,136,721 
The following table sets forth at December 31, 2023, the dollar amount of total loans receivable, contractually due after December 31, 2024, and whether such loans have fixed or adjustable interest rates:
 Due After December 31, 2024
 FixedAdjustableTotal
 (in thousands)
Commercial real estate$2,409,071 $3,191,387 $5,600,458 
Commercial and industrial156,875 319,424 476,299 
Residential real estate2,668,544 310,142 2,978,686 
Consumer135,533 112,566 248,099 
Total loans receivable$5,370,023 $3,933,519 $9,303,542 
Commercial Real Estate. At December 31, 2023, the Bank’s total commercial real estate loans outstanding were $6.30 billion, or 62% of total loans, as compared to $6.17 billion, or 62% of total loans at December 31, 2022.
The Bank originates commercial real estate loans that are secured by properties, or properties under construction, that are generally used for business purposes such as office, industrial, multi-family or retail facilities. Commercial real estate loans are provided on owner-occupied properties and on investor-owned properties. Of the total commercial real estate portfolio, $5.35 billion or 85.0% is considered investor-owned and $943.9 million or 15.0% is considered owner-occupied. A substantial majority of the Bank’s commercial real estate loans are located in its primary market area.
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The following tables present total commercial real estate loans by industry and geography (generally based on location of collateral) as of December 31, 2023:
Investor OwnedOwner OccupiedTotal
(dollars in thousands)AmountPercent of TotalAmountPercent of TotalAmountPercent of Total
Office$1,105,988 24 %$156,068 17 %$1,262,056 22 %
Retail1,082,486 23 127,189 13 1,209,675 21 
Multi-family903,258 19 5,843 909,101 16 
Industrial/warehouse703,590 15 162,285 17 865,875 15 
Hospitality138,809 62,044 200,853 
Other (1)
758,617 16 430,462 46 1,189,079 21 
Total $4,692,748 100 %$943,891 100 %$5,636,639 100 %
Construction661,226 661,226 
Total commercial real estate$5,353,974 $6,297,865 
(1)     Includes co-operatives, single purpose, stores and some living units / mixed use, investor owned 1-4 family, land / development, and other.
Investor OwnedOwner OccupiedTotal
(dollars in thousands)AmountPercent of TotalAmountPercent of TotalAmountPercent of Total
New Jersey$1,180,150 25 %$464,610 49 %$1,644,760 29 %
New York1,556,007 33 121,373 13 1,677,380 30 
Pennsylvania and Delaware1,244,283 27 239,606 25 1,483,889 26 
Maryland and District of Columbia150,094 26,423 176,517 
Massachusetts123,789 — — 123,789 
Other438,425 91,879 10 530,304 
Total $4,692,748 100 %$943,891 100 %$5,636,639 100 %
Construction661,226 661,226 
Total commercial real estate$5,353,974 $6,297,865 
The Bank originates commercial real estate loans with adjustable rates and with fixed interest rates for a period that generally does not exceed ten years, and generally have an amortization schedule up to 25 years and up to 30 years for multi-family properties. As a result, the typical amortization schedule will result in a substantial principal payment upon maturity. The Bank generally underwrites investor commercial real estate loans to a maximum of 65% to 80% advance, and owner occupied real estate loans to a maximum of 70% to 80% advance, depending on the asset class, against either the appraised value of the property or its purchase price (for loans to fund the acquisition of real estate), whichever is less. The Bank generally requires minimum debt service coverage of 1.20x to 1.50x for investor real estate and 1.25x to 1.40x for owner occupied real estate, depending on the asset class. There is a potential risk that the borrower may be unable to pay off or refinance the outstanding balance at the loan maturity date. The Bank typically lends in its primary markets to experienced owners or developers who have knowledge and expertise in the commercial real estate market.
The Bank performs extensive due diligence in underwriting commercial real estate loans due to the larger loan amounts and the riskier nature of such loans. The Bank assesses and mitigates the risk in several ways, including inspection of all such properties and the review of the overall financial condition of the borrower and guarantors, which include, for example, the review of the rent rolls and applicable leases/lease terms and conditions and the verification of income. A tenant analysis and market analysis are part of the underwriting.
Financial statements are also required annually for review. With respect to investor commercial real estate loans, rent rolls are also required annually in addition to financial statements. Generally, commercial real estate loans are supported by full or partial personal guarantees by the principals.
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Generally, for commercial real estate loans secured in excess of $750,000 and for all other commercial real estate loans where it is deemed appropriate, the Bank requires environmental professionals to inspect the property and ascertain any potential environmental risks. In accordance with regulatory guidelines, the Bank requires a full independent appraisal for commercial real estate properties for loans in excess of $500,000. The appraiser must be selected from the Bank’s approved appraiser list. The Bank uses an independent third party to review all applicable property appraisals to ensure compliance with regulations.
The Bank also originates multi-family family mortgage loans and, to a lesser extent, land loans The underwriting standards and procedures that are used to underwrite commercial real estate loans are used to underwrite multi-family loans, except the loan-to-value ratio generally do not exceed 75% of the appraised value of the property, the debt-service coverage is generally a minimum of 1.20x and has an amortization period of up to 30 years may be used.
Additionally, the Bank offers an interest rate swap program that allows commercial loan customers to effectively convert an adjustable-rate commercial loan agreement to a fixed-rate commercial loan agreement. The Bank simultaneously sells an offsetting back-to-back swap to an investment grade national bank so that it does not retain this fixed-rate risk. As of December 31, 2023, these back-to-back swaps had a notional amount of $1.42 billion

The commercial real estate portfolio also includes loans for the construction of commercial properties. The Bank generally underwrites construction loans for a term of three years or less. The majority of the Bank’s construction loans are floating-rate loans with a maximum 75% loan-to-value ratio for the completed project and a minimum debt-service coverage of 1.0x during the construction period to ensure there is sufficient interest reserve to cover interest payments. The Bank requires a higher projected debt-service coverage on construction loans (for projects that end up being income producing) and underwrites accordingly. The expectation is that the underlying project when complete will produce a debt service coverage ratio that is consistent with policy for completed income producing projects. The Bank may commit to provide permanent mortgage financing on its construction loans on income-producing property. Construction loans may have greater credit risk due to the dependence on completion of construction and other real estate improvements, as well as the sale or rental of the improved property. The Bank generally mitigates these risks with (i) requiring an independent appraisal, which includes information on market rents and/or comparable sales for competing projects; (ii) advances on construction loans are made in accordance with a schedule reflecting the cost of the improvements and performing site inspections to determine if the work has been completed prior to the advance of funds for the project; and (iii) pre-sale or pre-leasing requirements and phasing of construction.
Commercial real estate loans are among the largest of the Bank’s loans, and may have higher credit risk and lending spreads. For investor-owned properties, because repayment is often dependent on the successful management of the properties, repayment of commercial real estate loans may be affected by adverse conditions in the real estate market or the economy, the Bank is particularly vigilant of this portfolio. The Bank believes this portfolio is highly diversified with loans secured by a variety of property types and the portfolio exhibits stable credit quality.
Commercial real estate - investor-owned portfolio composition as of December 31, 2023 is as follows:
At December 31, 2023
(dollars in thousands)AmountPercent of total
Weighted Average LTV (1)
Weighted Average
Debt Service Coverage Ratio (2)
Office$532,697 11 %52 %1.8x
Medical345,730 58 1.9 
Credit Tenant227,561 65 1.6 
Total Office (3)
1,105,988 24 56 1.8 
Retail 1,082,486 23 57 1.6 
Multi-family (4)
903,258 19 58 1.6 
Industrial/warehouse703,590 15 51 2.1 
Hospitality138,809 50 1.3 
Other (5)
758,617 16 47 1.7 
Total investor owned4,692,748 100 %54 1.7 
Construction661,226 
Total CRE investor owned and construction$5,353,974 
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(1) Represents the weighted average of loan balances as of December 31, 2023 divided by their most recent appraisal value, which is generally obtained at the time of origination.
(2) Represents the weighted average of net operating income on the property before debt service divided by the loan’s respective annual debt service based on the most recent credit review of the borrower.
(3) Central business district (“CBD”) exposure represents $123 million, or 11.3%, of the total office loan balance. Office CBD loans had a weighted average LTV of 66% and weighted average debt service coverage ratio of 1.7x. $82 million, or 75%, of the total office CBD exposure are to credit tenants, life sciences and medical borrowers. New York City office CBD loans represent 0.12% of the Company’s total assets.
(4) New York City rent-regulated multi-family loans, where the property has more than 50% of its units rent-regulated, represent 0.27% of the Company’s total assets.
(5) Other includes co-operatives, single purpose, stores and some living units / mixed use, investor owned 1-4 family, land / development, and other.
During 2023 a repricing analysis was performed on the vast majority of the commercial real estate – investor owned and construction portfolio, stressing interest rates at 7% while keeping underwritten rents constant, and the results indicated the portfolio continues to service debt without unusual stress at a weighted average of 1.21x.
Commercial and Industrial. At December 31, 2023, commercial and industrial (“C&I”) loans totaled $666.5 million, or 6.5% of the Bank’s total loans outstanding. The Bank originates C&I loans and lines of credit (including for working capital, fixed asset purchases, and acquisition, receivable, and inventory financing) primarily in the Bank’s market area. In underwriting C&I loans and credit lines, the Bank reviews and analyzes the financial history and capacity of the borrower, collateral value, financial strength and character of the principal borrowers, and general payment history of the principal borrowers in coming to a credit decision. The Bank generally originates C&I loans secured by the assets of the business including accounts receivable, inventory, and fixtures. The Bank generally requires the personal guarantee of the principal borrowers for all C&I loans. Risk of loss on a C&I business loan is dependent largely on the borrower’s ability to remain financially able to repay the loan from the ongoing operations of the business. In addition, any collateral securing such loans may depreciate over time, may be difficult to appraise, and may fluctuate in value.
Consumer: Residential Real Estate. The Bank offers both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage (“ARM”) loans secured by one-to-four family residences with maturities up to 30 years. The majority of such loans are secured by property located in the Bank’s primary market area. Loan originations are typically generated by the Bank’s commissioned loan representatives and are largely derived from contacts within the local real estate industry, members of the local communities, and the Bank’s existing or past customers. Additionally, for the year ended December 31, 2023, the Bank purchased $31.9 million of residential real estate loan pools originated by others, related to Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) initiatives.
At December 31, 2023, $2.98 billion, or 29.3% of total loans, were residential real estate loans, primarily single family and owner occupied. To a lesser extent, and included in this activity, are residential mortgage loans secured by seasonal second homes, non-owner occupied investment properties and construction loans. The average size of the Bank’s residential real estate loans, excluding purchased loan pools, was approximately $324,000 at December 31, 2023.
The Bank currently offers several ARM loan programs with interest rates that adjust between annually to ten years, as well as loans that operate as fixed-rate loans at their onset and later convert to an ARM for the remainder of the term. These loans have periodic and overall caps on the increase or decrease at any adjustment date and over the life of the loan. These loans are indexed to an applicable Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) rate or U.S Treasury plus a margin. The majority of the ARM portfolio is tied to the one-year U.S. Treasury bill. Adjustments are generally based on a margin between 2.75% and 3.25%. Generally, the maximum interest rate on these loans is 6% above the initial interest rate.
Generally, ARM loans pose credit risks different than the risks inherent in fixed-rate loans, primarily because as interest rates rise, the payments of the borrower rise, thereby increasing the potential for delinquency and default. At the same time, the marketability of the underlying property may be adversely affected by higher interest rates. In order to minimize risks, borrowers of ARM loans with an initial fixed period of five years or less must qualify based on the greater of the note rate plus 2% or the fully-indexed rate. Seven- to ten-year ARM loans must qualify based on the note rate. The Bank does not originate ARM loans that can result in negative amortization.
The Bank’s fixed-rate mortgage loans are currently made for terms from ten to 30 years. The Bank either holds its residential loans for its portfolio or sells a portion of its fixed-rate and SOFR ARM loans to either government sponsored enterprises, FHLB, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, or to a third party aggregator. During 2023, the Company sold $58.1 million of loans. In certain instances, servicing rights are required to be retained, otherwise servicing rights may be sold as part of the loan sale. The retention of fixed-rate mortgage loans may increase the level of interest rate risk exposure of the Bank, as the rates on these
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loans will not adjust during periods of rising interest rates and the loans can be subject to substantial increases in prepayments during periods of falling interest rates.
The Bank’s policy is to originate residential real estate loans in amounts up to 80% of the lower of the appraised value or the selling price of the property securing the loan, up to 95% of the appraised value or selling price if private mortgage insurance is obtained, and up to 97% of the lower of the appraised value or selling price if the borrower qualifies for the NeighborFirst or special purpose credit program available to certain census tracts. Appraisals are obtained for loans secured by real estate properties. The weighted average loan-to-value ratio of the Bank’s residential real estate loans, excluding purchased loan pools, was 59% at December 31, 2023 based on appraisal values at the time of origination. Title insurance is typically required for first mortgage loans. Residential mortgage loans originated by the Bank include due-on-sale clauses which provide the Bank with the contractual right to declare the loan immediately due and payable in the event the borrower transfers ownership of the property without the Bank’s consent. Due-on-sale clauses are an important means of adjusting the rates on the Bank’s fixed-rate residential mortgage loan portfolio and the Bank has generally exercised its rights under these clauses.
The Bank has made, and may continue to make, residential mortgage loans that will not qualify as Qualified Mortgage Loans under the Dodd-Frank Act and the CFPB regulations. See Risk Factors – Risks Related to Lending Activities – The Dodd-Frank Act imposes obligations on originators of residential mortgage loans.
Included in the Bank’s residential real estate loan balance at December 31, 2023 were residential construction loans which totaled $110.0 million. The Bank originates residential construction loans primarily on a construction to permanent basis with such loans converting to an amortizing loan following the completion of the construction phase. All of the Bank’s residential construction loans are made to individuals building a residence.
Construction lending, by its nature, entails additional risks compared to residential real estate lending, attributable primarily to the fact that funds are advanced based upon a security interest in a project which is not yet complete. Risk of loss on a construction loan depends largely upon whether the initial estimate of the property's value at completion of construction equals or exceeds the cost of the property construction. During the construction phase, a number of factors can result in delays and cost overruns. If estimates of value are inaccurate or if actual construction costs exceed estimates, the value of the property securing the loan may be insufficient to ensure full repayment when completed. The Bank addresses these risks through its underwriting policies and procedures and its experienced staff.
Other Consumer: Home Equity Lines and Loans, Student Loans and Other Consumer. At December 31, 2023, the Bank’s other consumer loans totaled $250.7 million, or 2.5% of the Bank’s total loan portfolio. Of the total consumer loan portfolio, home equity loans comprised $112.7 million; home equity lines of credit comprised $86.4 million; and student loans comprised $19.0 million.
The Bank originates home equity loans typically as fixed-rate loans with terms ranging from five to 20 years. The Bank also offers variable-rate home equity lines of credit. Home equity loans and lines of credit are originated based on the applicant’s income and their ability to repay and are secured by a mortgage on the underlying real estate, typically owner-occupied, one-to-four family residences. Generally, the loan when combined with the balance of any applicable first mortgage lien, may not exceed 80% of the appraised value of the property at the time of the loan commitment. The Bank charges an early termination fee should a home equity loan or line of credit be closed within two or three years of origination. A borrower is required to make monthly payments of principal and interest, at a minimum of $50, based upon a 10-, 15- or 20-year amortization period. Certain home equity lines of credit require the payment of interest-only during the first five years with fully-amortizing payments thereafter. At December 31, 2023, these loans totaled $5.7 million, as compared to $7.8 million at December 31, 2022.
Generally, the adjustable rate of interest charged is based upon the prime rate of interest (as published in the Wall Street Journal), although the range of interest rates charged may vary from 1.0% below prime to 1.5% over prime. The loans have an 18% lifetime cap on interest rate adjustments.
Other consumer loans may entail greater risk than residential real estate loans, particularly in the case of consumer loans that are unsecured or secured by assets that depreciate rapidly. Repossessed collateral for a defaulted consumer loan may not provide an adequate source of repayment for the outstanding loan and a small remaining deficiency often does not warrant further substantial collection efforts against the borrower. Consumer loan collections depend on the borrower’s continuing financial stability, and therefore are likely to be adversely affected by various factors, including job loss, divorce, illness, or personal bankruptcy. Furthermore, the application of various federal and state laws, including federal and state bankruptcy, and insolvency laws may limit the amount that can be recovered on such loans.
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Beginning in 2022, the Bank began originating lines of credit that are fully secured by the cash surrender value of whole life insurance policies. Underlying insurance companies must have a Moody’s rating of A1 or higher and/or an S&P Rating of A or higher. These lines are originated based on the value of the collateral and secured by an assignment of the whole life policy. Borrowers are subject to minimum credit scores and maximum debt to income ratios, but the guidelines are less stringent than a mortgage or home equity loan/line as the line is fully secured by the underlying insurance policy. Interest rates charged are set at the time of origination and payments are interest-only based on the amount of the outstanding balance. Loan to values are limited to 95% of the cash surrender value of the whole life policy. Each line matures in 36 months and is subject to renewal at current rates and terms. At December 31, 2023, these loans totaled $31.1 million.
Loan Approval Procedures and Authority. The Loan Committee of the Board of Directors (“Board”) establishes the loan approval policies of the Bank based on total exposure to the individual borrower. The Board has authorized the approval of loans by a minimum of two officers of the Bank or the Management Credit Committee, on a scale which requires approval by personnel with progressively higher levels of credit approval authority as the loan amount increases. Pursuant to applicable regulations, loans to one borrower generally cannot exceed 15% of the Bank’s unimpaired capital.
Due to the Bank’s past acquisitions, significant portions of the acquired loan portfolios were underwritten according to the underwriting standards and guidelines of the acquired banks. Acquired loans are evaluated under OceanFirst’s credit risk management policies during pre-closing due diligence and during post-closing risk rating reviews.
In addition to internal credit reviews, the Bank has engaged an independent firm specializing in commercial loan reviews to examine a selection of commercial real estate and commercial and industrial loans, and provide management with objective analysis regarding the quality of these loans throughout the year. The independent firm reviewed over 60% of the outstanding loan balances for the Bank’s commercial real estate and commercial and industrial loans during 2023. Their conclusion was that the Bank’s internal credit reviews are consistent with both Bank policy and general industry practice.
Loan Servicing. Loan servicing includes collecting and remitting loan payments, accounting for principal and interest, making inspections as required of mortgaged premises, contacting delinquent borrowers, supervising foreclosures and property dispositions in the event of defaults, making certain insurance and tax payments on behalf of the borrowers, and generally administering the loans. The Bank also services mortgage loans for others. All of the loans currently being serviced for others are loans which were originated by the Bank. At December 31, 2023, the Bank was servicing $68.2 million of loans for others.
Delinquencies and Classified Assets. The steps taken by the Bank with respect to delinquencies vary depending on the nature of the loan and period of delinquency. When a borrower fails to make a required payment on a loan, the Bank takes a number of steps to have the borrower cure the delinquency and restore the loan to current status. The Bank sends the borrower a written notice of non-payment after the loan is first past due. In the event payment is not then received, additional letters and phone calls generally are made. The Bank may offer to modify the terms or take other forbearance actions which afford the borrower an opportunity to satisfy the loan terms. If the loan is still not brought current and it becomes necessary for the Bank to take legal action, which typically occurs after a loan is delinquent at least 120 days or more, the Bank will either: (i) commence litigation to acquire the collateral, including foreclosure proceedings against any real property that secures the loan; or (ii) sell eligible non-performing loans where foreclosure proceedings may or may not have been initiated. If a foreclosure action is instituted and the loan is not brought current, paid in full, or an acceptable workout accommodation is not agreed upon before the foreclosure sale, the real property securing the loan generally is sold at foreclosure. Foreclosure timelines in New Jersey are among the longest in the nation and have remained protracted over the past several years.
The Bank classifies assets in accordance with its Classification of Assets and Allowance for Credit Losses Policy (“ACL Policy”), which considers certain regulatory guidelines and definitions. As part of this ACL Policy, the Special Asset Group reviews and confirms the criticized and classified commercial loans report on a monthly basis. At December 31, 2023 and 2022, the Bank had $106.6 million and $50.8 million of assets classified as Substandard, respectively. Assets which do not currently expose the Bank to sufficient risk to warrant classification but possess potential weaknesses, such as past delinquencies, are designated as Special Mention. Special Mention assets totaled $40.4 million at December 31, 2023, as compared to $48.2 million at December 31, 2022. The increase in substandard loans was primarily due new downgrades during the year ended December 31, 2023, and to a lesser extent, migrations from special mention, partly offset by payoffs, paydowns and upgrades. New downgrades of $50.2 million were primarily comprised of five commercial relationships and migrations from special mention of $26.4 million were primarily comprised of two commercial relationships. The decrease in special mention was primarily due to migrations to substandard noted above, as well as payoffs, paydowns, upgrades and a partial charge-off, which outpaced new downgrades of $32.8 million.
Non-Performing Loans and OREO. The following table sets forth information regarding non-accrual loans (“non-performing loans”) and OREO, including loans purchased with credit deterioration (“PCD”) loans. The Bank’s PCD loans relate to loans acquired from prior bank acquisitions. PCD loans are accounted for at the purchase price or acquisition date fair value, with an
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estimate of expected credit losses for groups of PCD loans with similar risk characteristics and individual PCD loans without similar characteristics, to arrive at an initial amortized cost basis. It is the policy of the Bank to cease accruing interest on loans 90 days or more past due or in the process of foreclosure. During 2022, the Company sold its remaining OREO and there was no OREO as of December 31, 2023 and 2022.
 At December 31,
 202320222021
(dollars in thousands)
Non-performing loans (1)
$29,548 $23,265 $25,494 
OREO— — 106 
Non-performing assets (1)
$29,548 $23,265 $25,600 
Allowance for loan credit losses as a percent of total loans receivable (2)
0.66 %0.57 %0.57 %
Allowance for loan credit losses as a percent of total non-performing loans (1) (2)
227.21 244.25 191.61 
Non-performing loans as a percent of total loans receivable (1)
0.29 0.23 0.30 
Non-performing assets as a percent of total assets (1)
0.22 0.18 0.22 
(1)Non-performing loans consist of all loans 90 days or more past due and other loans in the process of foreclosure. Non-performing assets consist of non-performing loans and OREO.
(2)Loans acquired from prior bank acquisitions were recorded at fair value. The net unamortized credit and PCD marks on these loans, not reflected in the allowance for loan credit losses, were $7.5 million, $11.4 million, and $18.9 million at December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021, respectively.
Non-performing loans totaled $29.5 million at December 31, 2023, an increase of $6.3 million as compared to December 31, 2022, primarily due to the addition of a single commercial real estate credit relationship, which was partially charged-off during 2023 and has a remaining exposure of $8.8 million, partly offset by loans that were paid off or returned to accrual status.
Allowance for Credit Losses (“ACL”): Under the current expected credit loss (“CECL”) model, the ACL on financial assets is a valuation allowance estimated at each balance sheet date in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) that is deducted from the financial assets’ amortized cost basis to present the net amount expected to be collected on the financial assets. The CECL model also applies to certain off-balance sheet credit exposures.
The Company estimates the loan ACL based on the underlying assets’ amortized cost basis, which is the amount at which the financing receivable is originated or acquired, adjusted for applicable accretion or amortization of premium, discount, net deferred fees or costs, collection of cash, and charge-offs. In the event that collection of principal becomes uncertain, the Company has policies in place to write-off accrued interest receivable by reversing interest income in a timely manner. Therefore, the Company has made a policy election to exclude accrued interest from the amortized cost basis and therefore excludes it from the measurement of the loan ACL. A description of the methodology used in establishing the ACL is set forth in the section Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates, Allowance for Credit Losses.
At December 31, 2023 and 2022, the Bank’s loan ACL as a percentage of total loans was 0.66% and 0.57%, respectively. The net unamortized credit and PCD marks on all acquired loans, not reflected in the allowance, was $7.5 million and $11.4 million at December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. The loan ACL as a percent of total non-performing loans was 227.21% at December 31, 2023, a decrease from 244.25% in the prior year. The Bank will continue to monitor its allowance for loan credit losses as conditions dictate.

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The following table sets forth activity in the Bank’s loan ACL for the periods set forth in the table:
At or for the Year Ended December 31,
202320222021
(dollars in thousands)
Balance at beginning of year$56,824 $48,850 $60,735 
Charge-offs:
Commercial real estate (1)
8,356 70 410 
Commercial and industrial129 60 154 
Residential real estate— 56 254 
Other consumer208 387 213 
Total charge-offs8,693 573 1,031 
Recoveries311 913 1,492 
Net charge-offs (recoveries) 8,382 (340)(461)
Provision (benefit) for credit losses18,695 7,634 (12,346)
Balance at end of year$67,137 $56,824 $48,850 
(1)Commercial real estate charge-offs for the year ended December 31, 2023 of $8.4 million, primarily related to one relationship, which had a partial charge-off of $8.4 million to its estimated realizable value of $8.8 million.
The following table sets forth the net charge-offs/recoveries and the percent of net charge-offs/recoveries by loan category to average net loans outstanding for the periods indicated (dollars in thousands):
 At or for the Year Ended December 31,
 202320222021
Net Charge-offs (Recoveries) Ratio of Net Charge-offs (Recoveries) to Average LoansNet (Recoveries) Charge-offsRatio of Net (Recoveries) Charge-offs to Average LoansNet (Recoveries)Charge-offsRatio of Net (Recoveries) Charge-offs to Average Loans
Net charge-offs (recoveries):
Commercial real estate$8,336 0.08 %$(155)— %$205 — %
Commercial and industrial104 — (95)— 30 — 
Residential real estate(43)— (100)— (98)— 
Other consumer(15)— 10 — (598)(0.01)
Total net charge-offs (recoveries)8,382 0.08 %(340)— %(461)(0.01)%
Average net loans outstanding during the year$10,016,859 $9,323,619 $7,921,611 
The net charge-offs for the year ended December 31, 2023 was primarily related to the one commercial real estate relationship noted above. The net recoveries for the year ended December 31, 2022 and 2021 was primarily due to improved credit quality and successful recovery of previously charged-off balances.
The following table sets forth the Bank’s ACL by loan category and its percent to total loan ACL at December 31, 2023, 2022 and 2021, and the percent of loans to total loans in each of the categories listed at the dates indicated (dollars in thousands):
 At December 31,
 202320222021
 ACL AmountPercent of
ACL
to Total
ACL
Percent
of Loans to Total
Loans
ACL AmountPercent of
ACL
to Total
ACL
Percent
of Loans to Total
Loans
ACL AmountPercent of
ACL
to Total
ACL
Percent
of Loans to Total
Loans
Commercial real estate$32,253 48.04 %61.75 %$25,493 44.86 %62.20 %$31,388 64.24 %63.01 %
Commercial and industrial6,867 10.23 6.53 5,695 10.02 6.27 5,039 10.32 5.21 
Residential real estate27,029 40.26 29.26 24,530 43.17 28.86 11,155 22.84 28.76 
Other consumer988 1.47 2.46 1,106 1.95 2.67 1,268 2.60 3.02 
Total$67,137 100.00 %100.00 %$56,824 100.00 %100.00 %$48,850 100.00 %100.00 %
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Investment Activities
The Bank views its securities portfolio primarily as a source of income and liquidity. Interest and principal payments generated from securities provide a source of liquidity to fund loans and meet short-term cash needs. The portfolio is also used to provide collateral for qualified deposits and borrowings and to manage interest rate risk.
The investment policy is overseen by the Board of Directors and generally limits investments to government and federal agency obligations, agency and non-agency mortgage-backed securities, municipal, corporate, and asset-backed securities. The Company’s investment policy mirrors that of the Bank except that it allows for the purchase of certain other debt, preferred stock, and equity securities in limited amounts. The Board of Directors has delegated authority to implement the investment policy to the Company and Bank’s Investment Committees under the oversight of the Asset Liability Committee. Day-to-day management of the portfolio rests with the Treasurer.
Classification of securities are determined by management at the time of purchase. If the Bank has the intent and the ability at the time of purchase to hold debt securities until maturity, they may be classified as held-to-maturity. Debt securities identified as held-to-maturity are carried at cost, adjusted for amortization of premium and accretion of discount, which are recognized as adjustments to interest income. Debt securities to be held for indefinite periods of time, but not necessarily to maturity, are classified as available-for-sale. Such debt securities are carried at an estimated fair value and unrealized gains and losses, net of tax effect, are included as a separate component of stockholders’ equity. Refer to Note 4 Securities, to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The majority of the Bank’s residential and commercial mortgage-backed securities are issued or guaranteed by an agency of the U.S. government including Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (“FHLMC”), Federal National Mortgage Association (“FNMA”), and Government National Mortgage Association (“GNMA”). Agency mortgage-backed securities along with obligations issued directly by the U.S. government and its agencies entail a lesser degree of credit risk than loans made by the Bank and most other securities by virtue of the guarantees that back them; they require less capital under risk-based capital rules, are generally more liquid, and are more easily used to collateralize borrowings or other obligations of the Bank. Each of the U.S. government, agency, and agency guaranteed obligations are rated AA+ by Standard and Poor’s and Aaa by Moody’s.
The municipal portfolio provides tax-advantaged yield and diversification of risk and is generally comprised of general obligation and revenue bonds issued by states, cities, counties and other governmental entities to fund day-to-day obligations and to finance capital projects such as building schools, highways, sewer systems, hospitals, or other critical infrastructure. The asset-backed securities portfolio provides attractive yields and diversification of risk and is largely comprised of senior classes of collateralized loan obligations that invest in U.S. based broadly syndicated and middle market loans. The corporate debt securities portfolio is comprised of U.S. financial services and industrial companies that exhibit strong credit characteristics and provide attractive returns. The Bank may occasionally invest in non-agency residential or commercial mortgage-backed securities that are rated investment grade depending on credit and return on investment profiles. The vast majority of municipal, asset-backed, corporate, and other mortgage-backed securities are issued by entities with current credit ratings by one of the nationally recognized statistical rating organizations that are considered investment grade. See Note 4 Securities, to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The table below sets forth certain information regarding the amortized cost, weighted average yield, and contractual maturities, excluding scheduled principal amortization, of the Bank’s debt securities as of December 31, 2023. The weighted average yield is calculated based on the yield to maturity weighted for the size of each debt security over the entire portfolio of debt securities. The weighted average yields on tax-exempt obligations have been computed on a tax-equivalent basis. Actual maturities will differ from contractual maturities because borrowers may have the right to call or prepay obligations with or without call or prepayment penalties.
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 At December 31, 2023
     Total
 One Year
or Less Amortized Cost
Weighted Average YieldMore than One Year to Five Years Amortized CostWeighted Average YieldMore than Five Years to Ten Years Amortized CostWeighted Average YieldMore than Ten Years Amortized CostWeighted Average YieldAmortized
Cost
Estimated
Fair
Value
 (dollars in thousands)
U.S. government and agency obligations$11,5002.43 %$40,587 1.20 %$14,4031.50 %$— — %$66,490$60,694 
State and municipal debt obligations18,6591.78 102,924 1.63 39,7742.19 60,652 2.83 222,009207,710 
Corporate debt securities (1)
5044.62 57,838 5.79 13,1594.90 8,404 8.81 79,90575,385 
Asset-backed securities (2)
— — — 124,1457.56 171,651 7.62 295,796291,544 
Mortgage-backed securities(3):
Agency residential3144.22 22,828 2.34 66,4052.40 974,192 3.84 1,063,739994,686 
Agency commercial— 44,963 2.49 77,2281.96 70,133 5.70 192,324173,401 
Non-agency commercial— — — — 20,684 2.44 20,68418,910 
Total mortgage-backed securities$3144.22 %$67,791 2.44 %$143,6332.16 %$1,065,009 3.94 %$1,276,747$1,186,997 
Total debt securities$30,9772.09 %$269,140 2.66 %$335,1144.25 %$1,305,7164.40 %$1,940,947$1,822,330 
(1)$47.6 million of the Bank’s corporate debt securities carry interest rates which adjust to a spread over SOFR on a quarterly basis.
(2)All of the Bank’s asset-backed securities carry interest rates which adjust to a spread over SOFR on a quarterly basis.
(3)$335.2 million of the Bank’s mortgage-backed securities carry interest rates which generally adjust to a spread over SOFR on a quarterly basis.
Equity Investments. At December 31, 2023, and 2022, the Company held equity investments of $100.2 million and $102.0 million, respectively. The equity investments are primarily comprised of select financial services institutions’ preferred stocks, investments in other financial institutions and funds.
Sources of Funds
General. The Bank’s primary sources of funds are deposits, principal and interest payments on loans and investments, FHLB advances, and other borrowings. While scheduled payments on loans and securities are predictable sources of funds, deposit flows, loan prepayments, and loan and investment sales are greatly influenced by changes in market interest rates, competition, general economic conditions, including levels of unemployment and real estate values, and inflation. The Bank has other sources of liquidity if a need for additional funds arises, including various lines of credit at multiple financial institutions, access to the FRB discount window, and the Bank Term Funding Program (“BTFP”).
Deposits. The Bank offers a variety of deposit accounts with a range of interest rates and terms to retail, government, and business customers. The Bank’s deposits consist of money market accounts, savings accounts, interest-bearing checking accounts, non-interest-bearing accounts, and time deposits, including brokered deposits. The flow of deposits is influenced significantly by general economic conditions, prevailing interest rates, and competition. The Bank’s deposits are obtained predominantly from the areas in which its branch offices are located, and to a lesser extent, through digital service channels. The Bank relies on its community-banking focus, stressing customer service and long-standing relationships with its customers to attract and retain these deposits; however, market interest rates and rates offered by competing financial institutions could significantly affect the Bank’s ability to attract and retain deposits. Despite the result of several bank failures in early 2023 and the related industry-wide concerns including liquidity, and funding, the Company’s deposits increased $759.7 million to $10.43 billion at December 31, 2023 from $9.68 billion in the prior year.
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At December 31, 2023 and 2022, the Bank had $5.32 billion and $5.62 billion, respectively, of total uninsured deposits (in excess of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation limit). At December 31, 2023 and 2022, this total included $2.31 billion and $2.27 billion, respectively, of collateralized government deposits, $1.42 billion and $1.44 billion of intercompany deposits of fully consolidated subsidiaries, leaving estimated adjusted uninsured deposits of $1.60 billion and $1.91 billion, or 15.2% and 19.6% of total deposits.
At December 31, 2023, the Bank had $412.0 million in time deposits in amounts of $250,000 or more maturing as follows:
Maturity PeriodTime DepositsWeighted
Average Rate
 (dollars in thousands)
Three months or less$252,715 4.31 %
Over three through six months104,441 4.60 
Over six through twelve months50,513 4.39 
Over twelve months4,296 0.65 
Total$411,965 4.36 %
The following table sets forth the distribution of the Bank’s average deposit accounts and the average rate paid on those deposits for the periods indicated:
 For the Year Ended December 31,
 202320222021
 Average
Balance
Percent
of Total
Average
Deposits
Average
Rate
Paid
Average
Balance
Percent
of Total
Average
Deposits
Average
Rate
Paid
Average
Balance
Percent
of Total
Average
Deposits
Average
Rate
Paid
 (dollars in thousands)
Non-interest-bearing accounts$1,869,735 18.22 %— %$2,319,657 23.40 %— %$2,429,547 25.19 %— %
Interest-bearing checking accounts3,795,502 36.97 1.39 4,063,716 40.98 0.28 3,878,465 40.21 0.35 
Money market deposit accounts794,387 7.74 2.35 764,837 7.72 0.29 769,157 7.98 0.14 
Savings accounts1,364,333 13.29 0.68 1,597,648 16.12 0.05 1,581,472 16.40 0.04 
Time deposits2,440,829 23.78 3.74 1,167,499 11.78 1.43 985,328 10.22 1.02 
Total average deposits$10,264,786 100.00 %1.68 %$9,913,357 100.00 %0.31 %$9,643,969 100.00 %0.26 %
Borrowings. The Bank also obtains advances from the FHLB and other sources for cash management and interest rate risk management purposes or as an alternative to deposits. Advances are collateralized primarily by certain of the Bank’s mortgage loans and debt securities and secondarily by the Bank’s investment in capital stock of the FHLB. The maximum amount that the FHLB will advance to member institutions, including the Bank, fluctuates from time-to-time in accordance with the policies of the FHLB. At December 31, 2023, the Bank had $848.6 million of outstanding advances from the FHLB.
The Bank can also borrow from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia under its primary credit program. Primary credit is available on a short-term basis, typically overnight, at a rate above the Federal Open Market Committee’s Federal funds target rate. All extensions of credit by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia must be secured. At December 31, 2023, the Bank had no borrowings outstanding with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
As of December 31, 2023, the Company pledged $7.26 billion of loans with the FHLB and FRB to enhance the Company’s borrowing capacity, and includes collateral pledged to the FHLB to obtain a municipal letter of credit to collateralize certain government municipal deposits. At December 31, 2023, the Bank had outstanding municipal letters of credit of $1.30 billion issued by the FHLB used to secure such government deposits. The Company also pledged $1.15 billion of securities with FHLB and FRB to secure borrowings, enhance borrowing capacity, collateralize its repurchase agreements, and for other purposes required by law.
The Bank also borrows funds using securities sold under agreements to repurchase with customers. Under this form of borrowing specific securities are pledged as collateral to secure the borrowing. These pledged securities are held by a third-party custodian. At December 31, 2023, the Bank had borrowed $73.1 million through securities sold under agreements to repurchase with customers.
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The Bank has access to the FRB discount window and the BTFP as additional sources of funds. As of December 31, 2023 the Bank had no borrowings outstanding with either the FRB discount window or the BTFP.
Recent Acquisitions
The Company’s acquisitions over recent years have enhanced the Bank’s position as the premier community banking franchise in central and southern New Jersey, strengthened its presence in the major metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and New York, grown business lines, expanded its geographic footprint, and improved financial performance.
On April 1, 2022, the Company completed its acquisition of 60% of Trident Abstract Title Agency, LLC (“Trident”), which provides commercial and residential title services. Total consideration paid was $7.1 million and goodwill from the transaction amounted to $5.8 million. Trident’s results of operations are included in the consolidated results for the period beginning on April 1, 2022.
The Company will continue to evaluate potential acquisition opportunities to further create stockholder value.
Subsidiary Activities
At December 31, 2023, the Bank owned all or a majority interest in three direct subsidiaries:
OceanFirst REIT Holdings, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was established in 2007 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Bank and now acts as the holding company for OceanFirst Management Corp, a New York corporation, which was organized in 2016 to hold and manage investment securities, including the stock of OceanFirst Realty Corp. OceanFirst Realty Corp., a Delaware corporation, was established in 1997 and invests in qualifying mortgage loans and is intended to qualify as a real estate investment trust, which may, among other things, be utilized by the Company to raise capital in the future.
Casaba Real Estate Holding Corporation, a New Jersey corporation, was acquired by the Bank as a wholly-owned subsidiary as part of its acquisition of Cape Bancorp, Inc. in 2016. This subsidiary is maintained to take legal possession of certain repossessed collateral for resale to third parties.
Country Property Holdings Inc., a New York corporation, was acquired by the Bank as a wholly-owned subsidiary as part of its acquisition of Country Bank in 2020. This subsidiary is maintained to take legal possession of certain repossessed collateral for resale to third parties.
In addition to the Bank, the Company holds OceanFirst Risk Management, Inc. as a direct subsidiary. OceanFirst Risk Management Inc. is a Nevada captive insurance company that insures certain risks relating to the business of the Bank and the Company. The Company also holds a 60% interest in Trident Abstract Title Agency, LLC, a New Jersey corporation, which was acquired in 2022. This subsidiary provides commercial and residential title services throughout New Jersey, and through strategic alliances can also service clients’ title insurance needs outside of New Jersey.
Furthermore, the Company holds the following statutory business trusts: OceanFirst Capital Trust I, OceanFirst Capital Trust II, OceanFirst Capital Trust III, Sun Statutory Trust VII, Sun Capital Trust VII, Sun Capital Trust VIII, and Country Bank Statutory Trust I, collectively known as the “Trusts”. All of the Trusts are incorporated in Delaware and were formed to issue trust preferred securities.
Human Capital
OceanFirst’s long-term growth and success depends on its ability to attract, develop and retain a high-performing and diverse workforce. The Company strives to provide a work environment that promotes collaboration, productivity, and employee engagement, which in turn drives both employee and customer success, as well as benefits the communities.
The Company’s Board of Directors and Executive Team oversee the strategic management of the Company’s human capital resources and the Human Resources department manages the day-to-day of those resources.
Employee profile
As of December 31, 2023, the Bank had 857 full-time employees, 42 part-time employees, and 21 commissioned employees, for a total of 920 employees. Approximately 67% of the Bank’s employees are female and 33% are male, and the average tenure was over seven years. Of the Bank’s managers, 61% are female as of December 31, 2023. Additionally, 42% of the employees are either Millennial or Generation Z.
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Total rewards
As part of the Bank’s compensation philosophy, market competitive total rewards programs are maintained for employees to attract and retain superior talent. In addition to competitive base wages, additional programs include annual bonus compensation opportunities, a Bank Employee Stock Ownership Plan (“ESOP”), a Bank matched 401(k) Plan, health and welfare benefits, flexible spending accounts, paid time off, family leave, and employee assistance programs. Some employees also receive grants of equity awards in the Company’s stock and non-equity awards that mirror the Company’s stock performance.
In addition, the Bank promotes health and wellness by encouraging work-life balance, offering flexible work schedules and sponsoring various programs, focusing on mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual health.
Talent and Promoting Diversity
A core tenet of the Bank’s talent philosophy is to both develop talent from within and supplement with external hires. Whenever possible, the Bank seeks to fill positions by promotion and transfer from within the organization. The Bank’s talent acquisition team uses internal and external resources to recruit highly skilled and talented candidates; employee referrals are also encouraged.
The Company is dedicated to recruitment and career development practices that support its employees and promotes diversity in its workforce at all levels of the Company. The Company is committed to having a workforce that reflects the communities in which it serves. Partnerships are in place with several sources to assist in attracting diverse talent from a broad population, including African American, Asian American, and Latino chamber affiliations. In addition, career opportunities are shared with colleges and universities with diverse student bodies. Social media branding has increased to attract top talent who are seeking careers with employers who are genuinely committed to DEI. The Internship program and the EDGE program (an entry level development program) also serve as a pipeline of diverse talent for full time employment. Other available tools are also utilized to connect with prospective new hires. As of December 31, 2023, 20% of the Bank’s employees were persons of color.
Following a multi-pronged recruiting strategy, which includes sourcing diverse candidate pools, new hires participate in an onboarding program which includes an introduction to the Bank’s culture, policies, and procedures. New employees are assigned an ambassador, who extends the integration process beyond the typical orientation experience. Retention strategies include espousing a culture that inspires loyalty and trust through ongoing communication of strategic initiatives and executive roundtable conversations, in addition to the benefits mentioned above in Total rewards. The Bank’s leadership development programs and opportunities offered through OceanFirst Bank University help ensure that motivated individuals have the opportunity for continuous improvement. Employees each maintain a professional development action plan and participate in regular evaluation and growth opportunities. The Bank’s peer recognition program provides the space for ongoing recognition and celebration of accomplishments.
This approach has yielded loyalty and commitment from employees which in turn grows the business, products, and customers. This approach has also added new employees and ideas, which support a continuous improvement mindset and the goals of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
The Bank strives to promote inclusion through defined Company values and behaviors. With the support from the Board of Directors, the Bank continues to explore additional diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts through multiple approaches to inclusion: candidates, employees, and the marketplace. The ongoing diversity and inclusion initiatives support a goal that everyone throughout the Company is engaged in creating an inclusive workplace. The Bank is focused on sourcing and hiring with fairness and equitable approaches, creating an environment where all employees can develop and thrive.

REGULATION AND SUPERVISION
General
The Company is a bank holding company (“BHC”) under Section 3 of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the “BHC Act”). As a bank holding company, the Company is subject to the requirements of the BHC Act, including required approvals for investments in or acquisitions of banking organizations, or entities involved in activities that are deemed closely related to banking, capital adequacy standards, and limitations on nonbanking activities. The Company is registered with the FRB and is required by Federal law to file reports with, and comply with the rules and regulations of the FRB. The Bank is a member of the FHLB System and, with respect to deposit insurance, of the Deposit Insurance Fund (“DIF”) managed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (“FDIC”). The Bank is subject to extensive regulation, examination, and supervision by the OCC, as its primary federal regulator, and the FDIC, as the deposit insurer. The Bank must file reports with the OCC and the FDIC concerning its activities and financial condition in addition to obtaining regulatory approvals prior to consummating
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certain transactions such as mergers with, or acquisitions of, other insured depository institutions. The OCC conducts periodic examinations to test the Bank’s safety and soundness and compliance with various regulatory requirements. This regulation and supervision establishes a comprehensive framework of activities in which an institution can engage and is intended primarily for the protection of the DIF and depositors and to ensure the safe and sound operation of the Bank. The regulatory structure also gives the regulatory authorities extensive discretion in connection with their supervisory and enforcement activities and examination policies, including policies with respect to the classification of assets and the establishment of adequate allowance for credit losses for regulatory purposes.
In addition, the Company elected to become a financial holding company under the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act (the “GLBA”) amendments to the BHC Act. Financial holding companies, and the nonbank companies under their control, are permitted to engage in activities considered financial in nature or incidental to financial activities and, if the FRB determines that they pose no risk to the safety or soundness of depository institutions or the financial system in general, activities that are considered complementary to financial activities.
The banking industry is highly regulated. Both the scope of the laws and regulations and the intensity of supervision to which the Company and the Bank are subject to have increased in recent years, in response to the financial crisis as well as other factors such as technological and market changes. Many of these changes have occurred as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act and its implementing regulations. In addition, in 2018, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act (the “EGRRCPA”) was enacted. This legislation includes targeted amendments to the Dodd-Frank Act and other financial services laws.
Statutory and regulatory controls increase a BHC’s cost of doing business and limit the options of its management to deploy assets and maximize income. The following discussion is not intended to be a complete list of all the activities regulated by the banking laws or of the impact of such laws and regulations on the Company or the Bank. It is intended only to briefly summarize some material provisions.
The description of statutory provisions and regulations applicable to national banks and BHCs set forth in this Form 10-K does not purport to be a complete description of such statutes and regulations and their effects on the Bank and the Company, is subject to change and is qualified in its entirety by reference to the actual laws and regulations involved.
The Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act significantly changed the bank regulatory structure and affects the lending, deposit, investment, compliance, and operating activities of financial institutions and their holding companies.
The Dodd-Frank Act created the CFPB with broad powers to supervise and enforce consumer protection laws. The CFPB has broad rule-making authority for a wide range of consumer protection laws that apply to all banks, including the authority to prohibit “unfair, deceptive or abusive” acts and practices. The CFPB has examination and enforcement authority over all banks with more than $10 billion in assets. At December 31, 2023, the Bank’s total assets were $13.54 billion and, therefore, the Bank is subject to CFPB supervision and examination for compliance with specified Federal consumer protection laws.
Additionally, the Dodd-Frank Act includes a series of provisions covering mortgage loan origination standards affecting, among other things, originator compensation, minimum repayment standards and prepayments. The Dodd-Frank Act requires originators to make a reasonable and good faith determination based on documented information that a borrower has a reasonable ability to repay a particular mortgage loan over the long term and establishes certain protections from liability under this requirement for “qualified mortgages”. The Ability-To-Repay/Qualified Mortgage Rule defines several categories of “qualified mortgage” loans, which obtain certain protections from liability. For further discussion, refer to Risk Factors – Risks Related to Lending Activities – The Dodd-Frank Act imposes obligations on originators of residential mortgage loans.
The Dodd-Frank Act also requires that the amount of any interchange fee received by a debit card issuer with respect to debit card transactions be reasonable and proportional to the cost incurred by the issuer with respect to the transaction. Rules adopted by the FRB to implement these requirements limit interchange fees per debit card transaction collected by banks with assets of $10 billion or more. Under the temporary relief provisions of a joint rule published by the OCC, the FDIC, and the FRB, the Bank received relief from Dodd-Frank limitations on debit card interchange fees collected by banks with assets of $10 billion or more, but was subject to reduced interchange fees beginning in July 2022. In addition, market forces may result in reduced fees charged by all issuers, regardless of asset size, which may result in reduced revenues for the Bank. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the Bank’s revenues from interchange fees were $5.0 million, a decrease of $3.3 million from 2022, due to limitation on debit card interchange fees which became effective for the Company on July 1, 2022. The 2023 average net interchange fee per transaction was fourteen cents ($0.14), as compared to twenty nine cents ($0.29) in the prior year.
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The Dodd-Frank Act mandates that institutions with more than $10 billion in assets clear all eligible dealer swaps through a futures commission merchant to a central counterparty clearing house. The Bank has entered into relationships with a futures commission merchant and two central counterparty clearing houses.
Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. EGRRCPA was intended to provide regulatory relief to midsized and regional banks. While many of its provisions are aimed at larger institutions, such as raising the threshold to be considered a systemically important financial institution to $250 billion in assets from $50 billion in assets, many of its provisions provide regulatory relief to those institutions with $10 billion or more in assets. Among other things, the EGRRCPA increased the asset threshold for depository institutions and holding companies to perform stress tests required under Dodd Frank from $10 billion to $250 billion in total consolidated assets, and raised the threshold for the requirement that publicly traded holding companies have a risk committee from $10 billion in consolidated assets to $50 billion in consolidated assets. In addition, the EGRRCPA limited the definition of loans that would be subject to the higher risk weighting applicable to high volatility commercial real estate.
Volcker Rule. Under the provisions of the Volcker Rule, insured depository institutions and companies affiliated with insured depository institutions (collectively, “banking entities”) are prohibited from: (i) engaging in short-term proprietary trading for their own account; and (ii) having certain investments in, and relationships with, hedge funds, private equity funds and similar funds, subject to certain exemptions, in each case as the applicable terms are defined in the Volcker Rule and the implementing regulations. The implementing regulations also require banking entities to establish and maintain a compliance program to ensure adherence with the Volcker Rule requirements.
Bank Holding Company Regulation
The Company is a BHC and is supervised by the FRB and is required to file reports with the FRB and provide such additional information as the FRB may require. The Company and its non-bank subsidiaries are subject to examination by the FRB.
FRB regulations provide that a BHC is expected to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary bank and to commit resources to support the subsidiary banks in circumstances in which it might not do so absent those regulations.
Holding Company Consolidated Capital Requirements. The Dodd-Frank Act requires capital rules and the application of the same leverage and risk-based capital requirements that apply to insured depository institutions to most bank holding companies. In addition to making bank holding companies subject to the same capital requirements as their bank subsidiaries, these provisions (often referred to as the Collins Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act) were also intended to eliminate or significantly reduce the use of hybrid capital instruments, especially trust preferred securities, as regulatory capital.
At December 31, 2023, the Company exceeded all regulatory capital requirements currently applicable. The following table presents the Company’s capital position at December 31, 2023:
Capital
As of December 31, 2023Actual CapitalRequired CapitalExcess AmountActual PercentRequired Percent
OceanFirst Financial Corp:(dollars in thousands)
Tier 1 capital (to average assets)$1,218,142 $523,588 $694,554 9.31 %4.00 %
Common equity Tier 1 (to risk-weighted assets)1,088,542 701,778 386,764 10.86 7.00 
(1)
Tier 1 capital (to risk-weighted assets)1,218,142 852,159 365,983 12.15 8.50 
(1)
Total capital (to risk-weighted assets)1,413,400 1,052,667 360,733 14.10 10.50 
(1)
(1)    Includes the Capital Conservation Buffer of 2.50%.
Dividends and repurchase of common stock. The FRB has issued a policy statement regarding the payment of dividends and the repurchase of shares of common stock by BHCs. In general, the policy provides that dividends should be paid only out of current earnings and only if the prospective rate of earnings retention by the BHC appears consistent with the organization’s capital needs, asset quality, and overall financial condition. Regulatory pressures to reclassify and charge off loans and to establish additional credit loss reserves can have the effect of reducing current operating earnings and thus impacting an institution’s ability to pay dividends. Further, regulatory guidance provides for prior regulatory review of capital distributions in certain circumstances such as where the BHC’s net income for the past four quarters, net of dividends previously paid over that period is insufficient to fully fund the dividend, the proposed dividend exceeds earnings for the period for which it is being paid, or the BHC’s overall rate of earnings retention is inconsistent with the BHC’s capital needs and overall financial condition. The guidance also provides for prior consultation with supervisory staff for material increases in the amount of a
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BHC’s common stock dividend. The ability of a BHC to pay dividends may be restricted if a subsidiary bank becomes undercapitalized.
The policy statement also states that a BHC should inform the FRB supervisory staff prior to redeeming or repurchasing common stock or perpetual preferred stock if the BHC is experiencing financial weaknesses or if the repurchase or redemption would result in a net reduction in the amount of such instruments outstanding from the beginning of the quarter in which the redemption or repurchase occurred compared with the end of such quarter.
These regulatory policies may affect the ability of the BHC to pay dividends, repurchase shares of common stock, or otherwise engage in capital distributions.
Acquisition of the Company. Under the Change in Bank Control Act, no person may acquire control of a BHC, such as the Company, unless the FRB has been given 60 days prior written notice and has not issued a notice disapproving the proposed acquisition, taking into consideration certain factors, including the financial and managerial resources of the acquiror and the competitive effects of the acquisition. Control, as defined for this purpose, means ownership, control, or power to vote 25% or more of any class of voting stock.
There is a rebuttable presumption of control upon the acquisition of 10% or more of a class of voting stock if the BHC involved has its shares registered under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or if no other persons will own, control or hold the power to vote a greater percentage of that class of voting security after the acquisition.
Financial Holding Company Status
When the Bank converted to a national bank charter and the Company became a BHC, the Company elected to become a financial holding company. Financial holding companies may engage in a broader scope of activities than a BHC. In addition, financial holding companies may undertake certain activities without prior FRB approval.
A financial holding company may affiliate with securities firms and insurance companies and engage in other activities that are financial in nature or incidental or complementary to activities that are financial in nature. Activities that are financial in nature include securities underwriting, dealing and market making; sponsoring mutual funds and investment companies; insurance underwriting and insurance agency activities; merchant banking; and activities that the FRB determines to be financial in nature or incidental to a financial activity or which are complementary to a financial activity and do not pose a safety and soundness risk.
A financial holding company that engages in activities that are financial in nature or incidental to a financial activity but not previously authorized by the FRB must obtain approval from the FRB before engaging in such activity. Also, a financial holding company may seek FRB approval to engage in an activity that is complementary to a financial activity, if it shows, among other things, that the activity does not pose a substantial risk to the safety and soundness of its insured depository institutions or the financial system.
A financial holding company generally may acquire a company (other than a BHC, bank, or savings association) engaged in activities that are financial in nature or incidental to activities that are financial in nature without prior approval from the FRB. Prior FRB approval is required, however, before the financial holding company may acquire control of more than 5% of the voting shares or substantially all of the assets of a BHC, bank, or savings association. In addition, under the FRB's merchant banking regulations, a financial holding company is authorized to invest in companies that engage in activities that are not financial in nature, as long as the financial holding company makes its investment with the intention of limiting the duration of the investment, does not manage the company on a day-to-day basis, and the company does not cross-market its products or services with any of the financial holding company's controlled depository institutions.
If any subsidiary bank of a financial holding company ceases to be “well-capitalized” or “well-managed” and fails to correct its condition within the time period that the FRB specifies, the FRB has authority to order the financial holding company to divest its subsidiary banks. Alternatively, the financial holding company may elect to limit its activities and the activities of its subsidiaries to those permissible for a BHC that is not a financial holding company. If any subsidiary bank of a financial holding company receives a rating under the CRA of less than “satisfactory,” then the financial holding company is prohibited from engaging in new activities or acquiring companies other than BHCs, banks, or savings associations until the rating is raised to “satisfactory” or better. For additional information, refer to Regulation of Bank Subsidiary – Community Reinvestment Act and Fair Lending Laws.
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Regulation of Bank Subsidiary
Business Activities. The operations of the Bank are subject to requirements and restrictions under federal law, including requirements to maintain reserves against deposits, restrictions on the types and amounts of loans that may be granted, and limitations on the types of investments that may be made and the types of services which may be offered. Various consumer laws and regulations also affect the operations of the Bank. Approval of the OCC is required for branching, bank mergers in which the continuing bank is a national bank, and in connection with certain fundamental corporate changes affecting the Bank. There are various legal limitations, including Sections 23A and 23B of the Federal Reserve Act, as implemented by Regulation W, which govern the extent to which a bank subsidiary may finance or otherwise supply funds to its holding company or its holding company’s non-bank subsidiaries.
Capital Requirements. Federal regulations require banks to maintain minimum levels of capital including: a common equity Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of 4.5%, a Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of 6.0%, a total capital to risk-weighted assets ratio of 8.0%, and a Tier 1 capital to total assets leverage ratio of 4.0%.
In determining the amount of risk-weighted assets, all 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. 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 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 and long-term perpetual preferred stock, mandatory convertible securities, intermediate preferred stock 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. Unrealized gains and losses on certain available-for-sale securities are included for purposes of calculating regulatory capital unless a one-time opt-out is exercised. The Bank has exercised the opt-out. Calculation of all types of regulatory capital is subject to deductions and adjustments specified in the regulations. In assessing an institution’s capital adequacy, federal regulators take into consideration, not only these numeric factors, but qualitative factors as well, and have the authority to establish higher capital requirements for individual banks where necessary.
In addition to establishing the minimum regulatory capital requirements, regulations limit capital distributions and certain discretionary bonus payments to management if the institution does not hold a “capital conservation buffer” consisting of 2.50% of common equity Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets above the amount necessary to meet its minimum risk-based capital requirements. Both the Bank and the Company are in compliance with the capital conservation buffer requirements applicable to them.
The federal banking agencies, including the OCC, have also adopted regulations to require an assessment of an institution’s exposure to declines in the economic value of a bank’s capital due to changes in interest rates when assessing the bank’s capital adequacy. Under such a risk assessment, examiners evaluate a bank’s capital for interest rate risk on a case-by-case basis, with consideration of both quantitative and qualitative factors. Institutions with significant interest rate risk may be required to hold additional capital. According to the federal banking agencies, applicable considerations include: quality of the bank’s interest rate risk management process; the overall financial condition of the bank; and the level of other risks at the bank for which capital is needed.
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At December 31, 2023, the Bank exceeded all regulatory capital requirements currently applicable. The following table presents the Bank’s capital position at December 31, 2023:
    Capital
As of December 31, 2023Actual
Capital
Required
Capital
Excess
Amount
Actual
Percent
Required
Percent
Bank:(dollars in thousands)  
Tier 1 capital (to average assets)$1,155,896 $519,690 $636,206 8.90 %4.00 %
Common equity Tier 1 (to risk-weighted assets)1,155,896 694,620 461,276 11.65 7.00 
(1)
Tier 1 capital (to risk-weighted assets)1,155,896 843,467 312,429 11.65 8.50 
(1)
Total capital (to risk-weighted assets)1,226,154 1,041,930 184,224 12.36 10.50 
(1)
(1)    Includes the Capital Conservation Buffer of 2.50%.
Prompt Corrective Action. Federal law requires, among other things, that the federal bank regulatory authorities take prompt corrective action with respect to insured depository institutions that do not meet minimum capital requirements. For these purposes, the law establishes five categories: well capitalized, adequately capitalized, undercapitalized, significantly undercapitalized, and critically undercapitalized. The FDIC’s regulations define the five categories as follows:
An institution is classified as well capitalized if:
it has a leverage ratio of 5% or greater; and
it has common equity Tier 1 ratio of 6.5% or greater; and
it has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 8% or greater; and
it has a total risk-based capital ratio of 10% or greater; and
it is not subject to any written agreement, order or capital directive, or prompt corrective action directive issued by the OCC to meet and maintain a specific capital level for any capital measure.
An institution is classified as adequately capitalized if:
it has a leverage ratio of less than 4%; and
it has a common equity Tier 1 ratio of 4.5% or greater; and
it has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of 6%; and
it has a total risk-based capital ratio of 8% or greater.
An institution is classified as undercapitalized if:
it has a leverage ratio of less than 4%; or
it has a common equity Tier 1 ratio of less than 4.5%; or
it has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of less than 6%; or
it has a total risk-based capital ratio of less than 8%.
An institution is classified as significantly undercapitalized if:
it has a leverage ratio of less than 3%; or
it has a common equity Tier 1 ratio of less than 3%; or
it has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of less than 4%; or
it has a total risk-based capital ratio of less than 6%.
An institution that has a tangible capital to total assets ratio equal to or less than 2% is deemed to be critically undercapitalized.
The regulations provide that a capital restoration plan must be filed with the OCC within 45 days of the date a national bank receives notice that it is “undercapitalized,” “significantly undercapitalized,” or “critically undercapitalized.” Any BHC for the bank required to submit a capital restoration plan must guarantee the lesser of an amount equal to 5.0% of the bank’s assets at the time it was notified or deemed to be undercapitalized by the OCC, or the amount necessary to restore the bank to adequately capitalized status. Various restrictions, including as to growth and capital distributions, also apply to “undercapitalized” institutions. If an “undercapitalized” institution fails to submit an acceptable capital restoration plan, it is treated as “significantly undercapitalized.” “Significantly undercapitalized” institutions must comply with one or more additional restrictions including, but not limited to: an order by the OCC to sell sufficient voting stock to become adequately capitalized; a requirement to reduce total assets, cease receipt of deposits from correspondent banks, or dismiss officers or directors; and limitations on interest rates paid on deposits, compensation of executive officers and capital distributions by the parent holding company. Critically undercapitalized institutions are subject to the appointment of a receiver or conservator. The OCC may also take any one of a number of discretionary supervisory actions against undercapitalized institutions, including the issuance of a capital directive.
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Based on the regulatory guidelines, the Bank satisfies the criteria to be well-capitalized at December 31, 2023.
Insurance of Deposit Accounts. Deposit accounts at the Bank are insured by the DIF of the FDIC up to a maximum of $250,000 per separately insured depositor.
The FDIC charges insured depository institutions premiums to maintain the DIF. Under the FDIC’s risk-based assessment system, institutions deemed less risky pay lower FDIC 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 and modeling measuring the institution’s ability to withstand asset-related and funding-related stress and potential loss to the DIF should the bank fail. As a result of the increase in assessment rates, described below, the assessment range (inclusive of possible adjustments specified by the regulations) for institutions with greater than $10 billion of total assets is 2.5 to 42 basis points.
The FDIC has authority to increase insurance assessments. The FDIC adopted a final rule in October 2022 to increase initial base deposit insurance assessment rates by two basis points which began in the first quarterly assessment period of 2023. Any significant increases would have an adverse effect on the Bank’s operating expenses and results of operations. The Bank cannot predict what assessment rates will be in the future.
The FDIC may terminate the insurance of an institution’s deposits upon a finding that the 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, rule, order, or condition imposed by the FDIC. The management of the Bank does not know of any practice, condition, or violation that might lead to termination of deposit insurance.
The total deposit insurance assessment expenses incurred in 2023 and 2022 were $9.9 million and $5.9 million, respectively. The increase in expenses in 2023 was primarily due to the FDIC approval of a final rule to implement a special assessment to recover the loss to the DIF associated with protecting uninsured depositors following the closures of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank. As a result of this rule, the Bank incurred a special assessment of $1.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2023.
Loans to One Borrower. Subject to certain exceptions, a national bank may not make a loan or extend credit to a single or related group of borrowers in excess of 15% of its unimpaired capital and surplus. An additional amount may be lent, equal to 10% of unimpaired capital and surplus, if secured by specified readily-marketable collateral, which generally does not include real estate. As of December 31, 2023, the Bank was in compliance with the loans-to-one borrower limitations.
Limitation on Capital Distributions. Applicable regulations impose limitations upon all capital distributions by a banking institution, including cash dividends, payments to repurchase its shares and payments to stockholders of another institution in a cash-out merger. Under the regulations, an application to and the approval of the OCC, is required prior to any capital distribution if the total capital distributions for the calendar year exceeds net income for that year plus the amount of retained net income for the preceding two years. A national bank may not pay a dividend if it would be undercapitalized following the distribution or the distribution would otherwise be contrary to a statute, regulation or agreement with the OCC. A national bank may be further limited in payment of cash dividends if it does not maintain the capital conservation buffer.
In the event the Bank’s capital fell below its regulatory requirements or the OCC notified the Bank that it was in need of more than normal supervision, the Bank’s ability to make capital distributions could be restricted. In addition, the OCC could prohibit a proposed capital distribution by any institution, which would otherwise be permitted by the regulation, if the OCC determines that such distribution would constitute an unsafe or unsound practice. If the Bank is unable for any reason to pay a dividend to the Company, the Company may not have the liquidity necessary to pay a dividend in the future, pay a dividend at the same rate as historically paid, be able to repurchase stock, or to meet current debt obligations. In addition, capital requirements made applicable to the Company as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III may limit the Company’s ability to pay dividends or repurchase stock in the future. The Company may also be required to receive non-objection letters prior to performing any actions that may impact the Company’s capital.
Assessments. Banking institutions are required to pay OCC assessments to fund regulatory operations. The assessments, paid on a semi-annual basis, are based upon the institution’s total assets, including consolidated subsidiaries as reported in the Bank’s latest quarterly regulatory report, as well as the institution’s regulatory rating and complexity component. The assessments paid by the Bank totaled $1.2 million and $1.4 million, respectively, for the years ended December 31, 2023 and 2022.
Transactions with Related Parties. The Bank’s authority to engage in transactions with affiliates (e.g., any company that controls or is under common control with an institution, including the Company and its non-bank subsidiaries) is limited by federal law. The aggregate amount of “covered transactions” with any individual affiliate is limited to 10% of the capital and surplus of the bank. The aggregate amount of “covered transactions” with all affiliates is limited to 20% of the bank’s capital
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and surplus. Certain transactions with affiliates are required to be secured by collateral in an amount and of a type described in federal law. The purchase of low quality assets from affiliates is generally prohibited. Transactions with affiliates must generally be on terms and under circumstances that are substantially the same, or that are at least as favorable to the institution as those prevailing at the time for comparable transactions with or involving non-affiliated companies. In addition, banks are prohibited from lending to any affiliate that is engaged in activities that are not permissible for BHCs and no bank may purchase the securities of any affiliate other than a subsidiary.
Community Reinvestment Act and Fair Lending Laws. All national banks have a responsibility under the CRA and related federal regulations to help meet the credit needs of their communities, including low- and moderate- income neighborhoods. In connection with its examination of a national bank, the OCC is required to evaluate and rate the bank’s record of compliance with the CRA. On October 24, 2023, the FDIC, the FRB, and the OCC 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. A national bank’s failure to comply with the provisions of the CRA could, at a minimum, result in regulatory restrictions on certain of its activities such as branching or mergers.
During 2023, the Bank received a CRA Performance Evaluation from the OCC with a rating of “Needs to Improve” for the evaluation period January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. Based on its performance on the individual components of the CRA tests, the Bank received a rating of “Low Satisfactory” for the Lending, Investment, and Service Tests. The Bank’s final overall rating, however, was downgraded to “Needs to Improve” because of a Fair Housing Act violation cited by the OCC. The Bank’s management has taken actions, including adding to its compliance staff, to address the deficiencies and is committed to taking further voluntary corrective actions.
A “Needs to Improve” rating may restrict certain expansionary activities, including certain mergers and acquisitions and the establishment of Bank branches. The rating also results in a loss of expedited processing of applications to undertake certain activities.
The rating will remain in place until the OCC issues a revised CRA rating following a subsequent CRA examination. The next CRA examination is expected to commence sometime in 2024 for the CRA examination period 2021 to 2023. The precise timing of the examination and any results therefrom will not be known until after the completion of the examination.
In addition, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act prohibit lenders from discriminating in their lending practices based on the characteristics specified in those statutes. A national bank’s failure to comply with the provisions of the CRA could, at a minimum, result in regulatory restrictions on certain of its activities such as branching or mergers. The failure to comply with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Fair Housing Act could result in enforcement actions by the OCC, as well as other federal regulatory agencies and the Department of Justice.
Federal Home Loan Bank System
The Bank is a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which consists of 11 regional FHLBs. Each FHLB provides member institutions with a central credit facility. The Bank, as a member of the FHLB New York is required to acquire and hold shares of capital stock in that FHLB in a specified amount. The Bank was in compliance with this requirement with an investment in FHLB New York stock at December 31, 2023 and 2022 of $53.7 million and $69.4 million, respectively.
Federal Reserve System
The FRB regulations require depository institutions to maintain reserves against their transaction accounts (primarily interest-bearing checking and regular checking accounts). Effective March 26, 2020, the FRB reduced reserve requirement ratios to zero, effectively eliminating the requirements. The FRB indicated that it has no plans to re-impose reserve requirements but could in the future if conditions warrant.
In addition, as a national bank, the Bank is required to hold capital stock of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The required shares may be adjusted up or down based on changes to the Bank's common stock and paid-in surplus. The Bank is in compliance with these requirements, with a total investment in Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia stock of $39.7 million and $39.5 million at December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia pays dividends on the common stock held by the Bank. However, the level of dividends is reduced for financial institutions that exceed a certain asset size. For 2023, the asset level is $12.12 billion, and
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financial institutions whose assets exceed that level receive dividends generally equal to the rate of the 10-year Treasury note, which totaled $1.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, as compared to $1.3 million in the prior year.
Item 1A.Risk Factors
An investment in the Company’s common stock or the Series A Preferred Stock involves risks. Stockholders should carefully consider the risks described below, together with other information contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and that was filed with the SEC, before making any purchase or sale decisions regarding the Company’s common stock or Series A Preferred Stock. If any of the following risks actually occur, the Company’s financial condition or operating results may be harmed. In that case, the trading price of the Company’s common stock may decline and stockholders may lose part or all of their investment in the Company’s common stock or Series A Preferred Stock.
Risks Related to Lending Activities
The Company’s emphasis on commercial lending may expose the Company to increased lending risks. At December 31, 2023, $6.96 billion, or 68.3%, of the Company’s total loans consisted of commercial real estate, multi-family real estate and land loans, and commercial and industrial loans. These portfolios have grown in recent years and the Company intends to continue to emphasize these types of lending arrangements. These types of loans may expose a lender to greater risk of non-payment and loss than residential real estate loans because repayment of the loans often depends on the successful operation of the property or the borrower’s business and the income stream of the borrowers. Such loans typically involve larger loan balances to single borrowers or groups of related borrowers compared to residential real estate loans. These loans expose the Company to greater credit risk than loans secured by residential real estate because the collateral securing these loans typically cannot be liquidated as easily as residential real estate. If the Company forecloses on these loans, the holding period for the collateral typically is longer than for a single or multifamily residential property because there are fewer potential purchasers of the collateral. Commercial and industrial loans are typically affected by the borrowers’ ability to repay the loans from the cash flows of their businesses. These loans may involve greater risk because the availability of funds to repay each loan depends substantially on the success of the business itself. The collateral securing the loans and leases often depreciates over time, is difficult to appraise and liquidate and fluctuates in value based on the success of the business.
The level of commercial real estate loans may subject the Company to additional regulatory scrutiny. The OCC and the other federal bank regulatory agencies have promulgated joint guidance on sound risk management practices for financial institutions with concentrations in commercial real estate loans. Under the guidance, a financial institution that, like the Bank, is actively involved in commercial real estate lending should perform a risk assessment to identify concentrations. A financial institution may be subject to this guidance if, among other factors, (i) total reported loans for construction, land acquisition and development and other land represent 100% or more of total capital, or (ii) total reported loans secured by multi-family and non-farm residential properties, loans for construction, land acquisition and development and other land, and loans otherwise sensitive to the general commercial real estate market, including loans to commercial real estate related entities, represent 300% or more of total capital. Based on these factors, the Bank has a concentration in multi-family and commercial real estate lending, as such loans represented 447% of total bank capital as of December 31, 2023. The guidance focuses on exposure to commercial real estate loans that are dependent on the cash flow from the real estate held as collateral and that are likely to be at greater risk to conditions in the commercial real estate market (as opposed to real estate collateral held as a secondary source of repayment). The guidance assists banks in developing risk management practices and determining capital levels commensurate with the level and nature of real estate concentrations. The guidance states that management should employ heightened risk management practices including board and management oversight and strategic planning, development of underwriting standards, risk assessment and monitoring through market analysis and stress testing. While it is management’s belief that policies and procedures with respect to the Bank’s commercial real estate loan portfolio have been implemented consistent with this guidance, bank regulators could require that additional policies and procedures be implemented consistent with their interpretation of the guidance that may result in additional costs or that may result in the curtailment of commercial real estate and multi-family lending that would adversely affect the Company’s loan originations and profitability.
The Company’s concentrations of loans in certain industries could have adverse effects on credit quality. As of December 31, 2023, the Company’s commercial real estate loan portfolio included loans to: (i) lessors of office buildings of $1.3 billion, or 13% of total loans; and (ii) borrowers in the retail industry of $1.2 billion, or 12% of total loans. Because of these concentrations of loans in specific industries, a deterioration within these industries, especially those that have been particularly adversely impacted by long-term work-from-home arrangements on the commercial real estate sector, including retail stores, hotels and office buildings, creates greater risk exposure for the Company’s commercial real estate loan portfolio. Should the fundamentals of the commercial real estate market deteriorate, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
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The Dodd-Frank Act imposes obligations on originators of residential mortgage loans, which if not followed could lead to loan losses, litigation-related expenses, and delays in taking title to real estate collateral in a foreclosure. Among other things, the Dodd-Frank Act requires originators to make a reasonable and good faith determination based on documented information that a borrower has a reasonable ability to repay a particular mortgage loan over the long term. If the originator cannot meet this standard, the burden is on the lender to demonstrate the appropriateness of its policies and the strength of its controls. The Dodd-Frank Act contains an exception from this Ability-To-Repay rule for “Qualified Mortgages.” Applicable rules set forth specific underwriting criteria for a loan to qualify as a Qualified Mortgage. If a loan meets these criteria and is not a “higher priced loan” as defined in FRB regulations, the CFPB rule establishes a safe harbor preventing a consumer from asserting the failure of the originator to establish the consumer’s Ability-To-Repay. However, a consumer may assert the lender’s failure to comply with the Ability-To-Repay rule for all residential mortgage loans other than Qualified Mortgages, and may challenge whether a loan actually met the criteria to be deemed an Ability-to-Pay Qualified Mortgage. These challenges have yet to be addressed by the courts.
Although the majority of residential mortgages historically originated by the Company would be considered Qualified Mortgages, the Company currently originates residential mortgage loans that do not qualify. As a result of the Ability-to-Repay rules, the Company may experience loan losses, litigation-related expenses, and delays in taking title to real estate collateral in a foreclosure proceeding if these loans do not perform and borrowers challenge whether the Company satisfied the Ability-To-Repay rule upon originating the loan.
The Company’s allowance for credit losses may be inadequate, which could hurt the Company’s earnings. The Company’s allowance for credit losses may prove to be inadequate to cover actual credit losses. If the Company is required to increase its allowance, current earnings may be reduced. The Company provides for losses by reserving what it believes to be an adequate amount to absorb any estimated lifetime expected credit losses. If the Company’s allowance was insufficient, it would be required to record a provision, which would reduce earnings for that period. Changes to the economic forecasts within the model could positively or negatively impact the calculation of the allowance. In addition, regulatory agencies, as an integral part of their examination process, may require additions to the allowance based on their judgment about information available to them at the time of their examination. Any increase in the allowance for credit losses, or expenses incurred to determine the appropriate level of the allowance for credit losses, may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.
The foreclosure process may adversely impact the Company’s recoveries on non-performing loans. The judicial foreclosure process is protracted, especially in New Jersey, where foreclosure timelines remain among the longest in the nation, which delays the Company’s ability to resolve non-performing loans through the sale of the underlying collateral. The longer timelines have been the result of the economic environment, additional consumer protection initiatives related to the foreclosure process, increased documentary requirements and judicial scrutiny, and, both voluntary and mandatory programs under which lenders may consider loan modifications or other alternatives to foreclosure. These reasons and the legal and regulatory responses have impacted the foreclosure process and completion time of foreclosures for residential mortgage lenders. This may result in a material adverse effect on collateral values and the Company’s ability to minimize its losses.
Risks Related to Economic Matters
Inflation can have an adverse impact on the Company’s business and its customers. Inflation risk is the risk that the value of assets or income from investments will be worth less in the future as inflation decreases the value of money. Over the past two years, in response to a pronounced rise in inflation, the FRB raised certain benchmark interest rates to combat inflation. As discussed below under Risks Related to Interest Rates—Changes in interest rates could adversely affect results of operations and financial condition, as inflation increases and market interest rates rise, the value of the Company’s investment securities, particularly those with longer maturities, would decrease, although this effect can be less pronounced for floating rate instruments. In addition, inflation generally increases the cost of goods and services the Company uses in its business operations, such as electricity and other utilities, and also generally increases employee wages, any of which can increase the Company’s non-interest expenses. Furthermore, the Company’s customers are also affected by inflation and the rising costs of goods and services used in their households and businesses, which could have a negative impact on their ability to repay their loans with the Company. Sustained higher interest rates by the FRB to tame persistent inflationary price pressures could also push down asset prices and weaken economic activity. A deterioration in economic conditions in the United States and the Company’s markets could result in an increase in loan delinquencies and non-performing assets, decreases in loan collateral values and a decrease in demand for the Company’s products and services, any of which, in turn, would adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.
A worsening of economic conditions in the Company’s market area could reduce demand for the products and services and/or result in increases in the level of non-performing loans, which could adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations. A deterioration in economic conditions, especially local conditions, continued high interest
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inflation, recession or otherwise, could have the following consequences, any of which could have a material adverse effect on the business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations, and could more negatively affect the Company compared to a financial institution that operates with more geographic diversity:
demand for the products and services may decline;
there may be an increase to the allowance for credit losses;
loan delinquencies, problem assets, and foreclosures may increase;
collateral for loans, especially real estate, may decline in value, thereby reducing customers’ borrowing power, and reducing the value of assets and collateral associated with existing loans; and
the net worth and liquidity of loan guarantors may decline, impairing their ability to honor commitments.
Moreover, a significant decline in general economic conditions caused by inflation, recession, acts of terrorism, civil unrest, an outbreak of hostilities or other international or domestic calamities, an epidemic or pandemic, unemployment or other factors beyond the Company’s control could further impact these local economic conditions and could further negatively affect the financial results of banking operations. In addition, deflationary pressures, while possibly lowering operating costs, could have a significant negative effect on borrowers, especially business borrowers, and the values of underlying collateral securing loans, which could negatively affect financial performance.
A downturn in the local economy or in local real estate values could adversely impact profits. Most of the Bank’s loans are secured by real estate and are made to borrowers throughout New Jersey and the major metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Boston, as well as their surrounding areas. A return of recessionary conditions and/or negative developments in the domestic and international credit markets may significantly affect the markets in which the Company does its business, the value of loans, investments, and collateral securing loans and classified assets, reduce the demand for the Company’s products and services, and/or the ongoing operations, costs and profitability. Any of these negative events could increase the amount of non-performing loans and cause residential and commercial real estate loans to become inadequately collateralized, any of which could expose the Company to a greater risk of loss and may adversely affect the Company’s capital, liquidity and financial conditions.
The failure to address the federal debt ceiling in a timely manner, downgrades of the U.S. credit rating and uncertain credit and financial market conditions may affect the stability of securities issued or guaranteed by the federal government, which may affect the valuation or liquidity of the investment securities portfolio and increase future borrowing costs. As a result of uncertain political, credit and financial market conditions, including the potential consequences of the federal government defaulting on its obligations for a period of time due to federal debt ceiling limitations or other unresolved political issues, investments in financial instruments issued or guaranteed by the federal government pose credit default and liquidity risks. Given that future deterioration in the U.S. credit and financial markets is a possibility, losses or significant deterioration in the fair value of the U.S. government issued or guaranteed investments may occur. Downgrades to the U.S. credit rating could affect the stability of securities issued or guaranteed by the federal government and the valuation or liquidity of the portfolio of such investment securities, and could result in the Company’s counterparties requiring additional collateral for borrowings. Further, unless and until U.S. political, credit and financial market conditions have been sufficiently resolved or stabilized, it may increase the Company’s future borrowing costs.
Risks Related to Interest Rates
Rising interest rates have decreased the value of the Company’s securities portfolio, and the Company would realize losses if it were required to sell such securities to meet liquidity needs. As a result of inflationary pressures and the resulting rapid increases in interest rates in 2023, the trading value of previously issued government and other fixed income securities has declined significantly. These securities make up a majority of the securities portfolio of most banks in the U.S., including the Company’s, resulting in unrealized losses embedded in the securities portfolios and reported as a separate component of stockholders’ equity. While the Company does not currently intend to sell these securities, if the Company were required to sell such securities to meet liquidity needs, it may incur losses, which could impair the Company’s capital, financial condition, and results of operations and could require the Company to raise additional capital on unfavorable terms, thereby negatively impacting its profitability. While the Company has taken actions to maximize its funding sources, there is no guarantee that such actions will be successful or sufficient in the event of sudden liquidity needs. Furthermore, while the Federal Reserve Board has announced a Bank Term Funding Program available to eligible depository institutions secured by U.S. treasuries, agency debt and mortgage-backed securities, and other qualifying assets as collateral at par, to mitigate the risk of potential losses on the sale of such instruments, there is no guarantee that such programs will be effective in addressing liquidity needs as they arise.
Changes in interest rates could adversely affect results of operations and financial condition. The Company’s ability to make a profit largely depends on net interest income, which could be negatively affected by changes in interest rates. Further, interest-
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bearing liabilities generally have shorter contractual maturities than interest-earning assets and are subject to repricing based on economic conditions, competition, and funding availability, among other factors. This imbalance can create significant earnings volatility as market interest rates change over time. In a period of rising interest rates, the interest income earned on interest-earning assets may not increase as rapidly as the interest paid on interest-bearing liabilities, which would be expected to compress the interest rate spread and have a negative effect on the Company’s profitability. Additionally, a flat or an inverted yield curve, where short-term rates are close to, or above, long-term rates, could adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.
In addition, changes in interest rates can affect the average life of loans and investment securities. A reduction in interest rates causes increased prepayments of loans and mortgage-backed securities as borrowers refinance their debt to reduce their borrowing costs. This creates reinvestment risk, which is the risk that the Company may not be able to reinvest the funds from faster prepayments at rates that are comparable to the rates earned on the prepaid loans or securities. Conversely, an increase in interest rates generally reduces prepayments. Additionally, increases in interest rates may decrease loan demand and/or make it more difficult for borrowers to repay adjustable-rate loans.
Changes in interest rates may also affect the current estimated fair value of the securities portfolio. Generally, the value of securities moves inversely with changes in interest rates. Unrealized net losses on securities available-for-sale are reported as a separate component of stockholders’ equity. To the extent interest rates increase and the value of the available-for-sale portfolio decreases, stockholders’ equity will be adversely affected.
Changes in the estimated fair value of debt securities may reduce stockholders’ equity and net income. At December 31, 2023, the Company maintained a debt securities portfolio of $1.91 billion, of which $753.9 million was classified as available-for-sale. The estimated fair value of the available-for-sale debt securities portfolio may change depending on the credit quality of the underlying issuer, market liquidity, changes in interest rates and other factors. Stockholders’ equity increases or decreases by the amount of the change in the unrealized gain or loss (difference between the estimated fair value and the amortized cost) of the available-for-sale debt securities portfolio, net of the related tax expense or benefit, under the category of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). During the year ended December 31, 2023, the Company incurred other comprehensive gains of $14.3 million, net of tax, related to net changes in unrealized holding gains in the available-for-sale investment securities portfolio, which positively impacted stockholders’ equity, as well as book value per common share. The increase occurred even though the securities are not sold.
The Company conducts a periodic review of the debt securities portfolio to determine if any decline in the estimated fair value of any security below its cost basis is considered impaired. Factors which are considered in the analysis include, but are not limited to, the extent to which the fair value is less than the amortized cost basis, the financial condition, credit rating and future prospects of the issuer, whether the debtor is current on contractually obligated interest and principal payments and the Company’s intent and ability to retain the security for a period of time sufficient to allow for any anticipated recovery in fair value and the likelihood of any near-term fair value recovery. If such decline is deemed to be uncollectible, the security is written down to a new cost basis and the resulting loss will be recognized as a securities provision for credit losses through an allowance for securities credit losses.
Hedging against interest rate exposure may adversely affect the Company’s earnings. On occasion the Company has employed various financial risk methodologies that limit, or “hedge,” the adverse effects of rising or decreasing interest rates on the loan portfolios and short-term liabilities. The Company also engages in hedging strategies with respect to arrangements where customers swap floating-rate obligations for fixed-rate obligations, or vice versa. The hedging activity varies based on the level and volatility of interest rates and other changing market conditions. Interest rate hedging may fail to protect the Company from loss. Moreover, hedging activities could result in losses if the event against which we hedge does not occur. Additionally, interest rate hedging could fail to protect the Company or adversely affect the Company because, among other things:
available interest rate hedging may not correspond directly with the interest rate risk for which protection is sought;
the duration of the hedge may not match the duration of the related liability;
the party owing money in the hedging transaction may default on its obligation to pay;
the credit quality of the party owing money on the hedge may be downgraded to such an extent that it impairs the ability to sell or assign the Company’s side of the hedging transaction;
the value of derivatives used for hedging may be adjusted from time to time in accordance with accounting rules to reflect changes in fair value; and/or
downward adjustments, or “mark-to-market” losses, would reduce the Company’s stockholders’ equity.
Risks Related to Acquisitions and Growth
The Company must successfully integrate the operations and retain the customers of its acquired institutions. The Company completes acquisitions of financial institutions and other service companies and continues to explore acquisition opportunities.
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Future results of operations will depend in large part on the Company’s ability to successfully integrate the operations of the institutions it acquires and retain the employees and customers of those institutions. If the Company is unable to successfully manage the integration of the separate cultures, employee and customer bases and operating systems of the institutions it acquires, the Company’s results of operations may be adversely affected.
The Company’s failure to successfully manage its growth may adversely impact its financial condition and results of operation. The Company may be challenged to successfully manage its business as a result of the strain on management and operations that may result from growth. The ability to manage growth will depend on its ability to continue to attract, hire and retain skilled employees. Success will also depend on the ability of officers and key employees to continue to implement and improve operational and other systems, to manage multiple, concurrent customer relationships and to retain, hire, train and manage skilled employees.
In order to successfully manage substantial growth, the Company may need to increase non-interest expenses through additional leasehold and data processing costs, and other infrastructure costs. In order to successfully manage growth, the Company may need to adopt and effectively implement new or revise existing policies, procedures and controls to maintain credit quality, control costs and oversee the Company’s operations. No assurance can be given that the Company will be successful in these efforts.
The Company’s intent to expand its geographic footprint may not be successful in entering into new markets. The Company intends to expand its geographic footprint through acquisitions and organic growth. Entering into new markets involves risks, such as competitive disadvantages through a lack of name recognition, increased marketing costs, and the inability to otherwise grow market share as needed to offset the costs associated with expansion. The failure to successfully expand the Company’s footprint or do so in an effective manner could adversely affect the Company’s results of operations.
The Company may need to raise additional capital in the future and such capital may not be available when needed or at terms that are beneficial to stockholders. Substantial growth may stress regulatory capital levels, and may require the Company to raise additional capital. No assurance can be given that the Company will be able to raise any required capital, or that it will be able to raise capital on terms that are beneficial to stockholders.
A portion of the Company’s loan portfolio has grown through acquisition, and therefore may not have been underwritten to meet the Company’s credit standards. Loans that were acquired as part of the Company’s acquisitions of other depository institutions were not underwritten or originated in accordance with the Company’s credit standards, including environmental matters, and the Company did not have long-standing relationships with many of these borrowers at the time of acquisition. The acquired loans are underwritten at the date of acquisition based on the Company’s credit standards, which can temporarily increase loans classified as special mention and substandard for a period of time until these loans are integrated and conform to the Company’s credit standards. Although the Company reviewed the loan portfolios of each institution acquired as part of the diligence process, and believes that it has established reasonable credit marks with regard to all loans acquired, no assurance can be given that the Company will not incur losses in excess of the credit marks with regard to these acquired loans, or that any such losses, if they occur, will not have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Future acquisition activity could otherwise negatively affect financial condition and results of operations. The Company continues to evaluate opportunities to acquire financial institutions, financial service companies and/or bank branches. Acquiring other banks, businesses, or branches may have an adverse effect on financial results and may involve various other risks commonly associated with acquisitions, including those discussed above, as well as, among other things:
payment of a premium over book and market values may dilute the book value and earnings per share in the short and long-term;
potential exposure to unknown or contingent liabilities of the target company;
exposure to potential asset quality problems of the target company;
inability to realize the expected revenue increases, cost savings, increases in geographic or product presence, and/or other projected benefits of the acquisition;
potential disruption to the business;
potential diversion of management’s time and attention;
the possible loss of key employees and customers of the target company; and
potential changes in banking or tax laws or regulations that may affect the target company.
Acquisitions may reduce or not enhance cash flows, business, financial condition, results of operations or prospects and, as a result, such acquisitions may have an adverse effect on the results of operations, particularly during periods in which the acquisitions are being integrated into operations.
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Risks Related to Loan Sales
The Company may be required to repurchase mortgage loans for a breach of representations and warranties, which could harm the Company’s earnings. The Company enters into loan sale agreements with investors in the normal course of business. The loan sale agreements generally require the repurchase of certain loans previously sold in the event of a violation of various representations and warranties customary in the mortgage banking industry. FHLB, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and investors carefully examine loan documentation on delinquent loans for a possible reason to request a repurchase by the loan originator. A subsequent sale of a repurchased mortgage loan could be at a significant discount to the unpaid principal balance. The Company maintains a reserve for repurchased loans. However, if repurchase activity or the amount of loss on the sale of a repurchased loan is greater than anticipated, the reserve may need to be increased to cover actual losses, which could harm earnings.
Risks Related to Laws and Regulations
The Company and the Bank operate in a highly regulated environment and may be adversely affected by changes in laws and regulations. The Company is subject to examination, supervision and regulation by the FRB. The Bank is subject to regulation, supervision and examination by the OCC, its primary federal regulator, by the FDIC, as insurer of deposits, and by the CFPB with respect to consumer protection laws. Such regulation and supervision governs the activities in which an institution and its holding company may engage. Regulatory authorities have extensive discretion in their supervisory and enforcement activities, including the imposition of restrictions on operations, the classification of assets and determination of the level of the allowance for credit losses. The laws and regulations that govern the Company’s and the Bank’s operations are designed for the protection of depositors and the public, but not the Company’s stockholders. These provisions, as well as future regulatory or legislative changes applicable to the financial industry, may impact the profitability of the Company’s business activities and may change certain business practices, including the ability to offer new products, obtain financing, generate fee income, attract deposits, make loans and achieve satisfactory interest spreads, and could expose the Company to additional costs, including increased compliance costs. Such changes also may require the Company to invest significant management attention and resources to make any necessary changes to operations in order to comply, and could therefore also materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.
As part of its lending activity, the Company may enter into interest rate swaps that allow commercial loan customers to effectively convert a variable-rate commercial loan to a fixed-rate commercial loan. Under these agreements, the Company enters into a variable rate loan agreement with a customer in addition to an interest rate swap agreement, which serves to effectively swap the customer’s variable rate loan into a fixed rate loan. The Company then enters into a corresponding swap agreement with a third party in order to economically hedge its exposure through the customer agreement, as well as more broadly to hedge variable cash flows associated with its floating rate loans. Offering these products can subject the Company to additional regulatory oversight and cost, as well as additional risk. The Dodd-Frank Act contains a comprehensive framework for over-the-counter derivatives transactions. Even though many of the requirements do not impact the Company directly, since the Bank does not meet the definition of swap dealer or “major swap participant,” the Company continues to review and evaluate the extent to which such requirements impact its business indirectly or if and when such requirements may apply to the Bank directly. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission set the permanent aggregate gross notional amount threshold for the de minimis exception from the definition of swap dealer at $8.0 billion in swap dealing activity entered into by a person over the preceding 12 months. The Company’s swap dealing activities are currently below this threshold.
The USA Patriot and Bank Secrecy Acts require financial institutions to develop programs and procedures to prevent financial institutions from being used for money laundering, terrorist financing and other illicit activities, including filing suspicious activity reports and establishing procedures for identifying and verifying the identity of customers seeking to open new accounts. Failure to comply with these regulations could result in wide variety of sanctions, including payment of damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, and restrictions on mergers and acquisitions activity and expansionary activities. Although the Company has developed policies and procedures designated to comply with these laws and regulations, these policies and procedures may not be effective in preventing violations of these laws and regulations.
The Company is subject to stringent capital requirements, which may adversely impact return on equity, require additional capital raises, or limit the ability to pay dividends or repurchase shares. Federal regulations establish minimum capital requirements for insured depository institutions, including minimum risk-based capital and leverage ratios, and define “capital” for calculating these ratios. The minimum capital requirements are: (i) a common equity Tier 1 capital ratio of 4.5%; (ii) a Tier 1 to risk-based assets capital ratio of 6%; (iii) a total capital ratio of 8%; and (iv) a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 4%. The regulations also establish a “capital conservation buffer” of 2.5%, which if complied with, will result in the following minimum ratios: (i) a common equity Tier 1 capital ratio of 7%; (ii) a Tier 1 to risk-based assets capital ratio of 8.5%; and (iii) a total capital ratio of 10.5%. An institution will be subject to limitations on paying dividends, engaging in share repurchases and paying discretionary bonuses if its capital level falls below the capital conservation buffer amount.
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The application of these capital requirements could, among other things, require the Company to maintain higher capital resulting in lower returns on equity, and could require the Company to obtain additional capital to comply or result in regulatory actions if the Company is unable to comply with such requirements. See Regulation and Supervision, Bank Holding Company Regulation.
Monetary policies and regulations of the Federal Reserve Board could adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations. The Company’s earnings and growth are affected by the policies of the Federal Reserve Board. An important function of the Federal Reserve Board is to regulate the money supply and credit conditions. Among the instruments used by the Federal Reserve Board to implement these objectives are open market purchases and sales of U.S. government securities, adjustments of the discount rate and changes in banks’ reserve requirements against certain transaction account deposits. These instruments are used in varying combinations to influence overall economic growth and the distribution of credit, bank loans, investments and deposits. Their use also affects interest rates charged on loans or paid on deposits.
The monetary policies and regulations of the Federal Reserve Board have a significant effect on the overall economy and the operating results of financial institutions.
The Company is 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. A successful regulatory challenge to an institution’s performance under the CRA or fair lending laws and regulations could result in sanctions, including payment of damages and civil money penalties, injunctive relief, and restrictions on mergers and acquisitions activity and expansionary activities. Private parties may also challenge an institution’s performance under fair lending laws in private class action litigation. Such actions could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Needs to Improve rating under The Community Reinvestment Act may restrict the Company’s operations and limit its ability to pursue certain strategic opportunities. The Bank received a CRA Performance Evaluation from the OCC with a rating of “Needs to Improve” for the evaluation period January 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. Based on its performance on the individual components of the CRA tests, the Bank received a rating of “Low Satisfactory” for the Lending, Investment, and Service Tests. The Bank’s final overall rating, however, was downgraded to “Needs to Improve” because of a Fair Housing Act violation cited by the OCC. The Bank’s management has taken actions, including adding to its compliance staff, to address the deficiencies and is committed to taking further voluntary corrective actions.
A “Needs to Improve” rating may restrict certain expansionary activities, including certain mergers and acquisitions and the establishment of Bank branches. The rating also results in a loss of expedited processing of applications to undertake certain activities.
The rating will remain in place until the OCC issues a revised CRA rating following a subsequent CRA examination. The next CRA examination is expected to commence sometime in 2024 for the CRA examination period 2021 to 2023. The precise timing of the examination and any results therefrom will not be known until after the completion of the examination.
The Federal Reserve Board may require the Company to commit capital resources to support the Bank. Federal law requires that a holding company act as a source of financial and managerial strength to its subsidiary bank and to commit resources to support such subsidiary bank. Under the “source of strength” doctrine, the Federal Reserve Board may require a holding company to make capital injections into a troubled subsidiary bank and may charge the holding company with engaging in unsafe and unsound practices for failure to commit resources to a subsidiary bank. A capital injection may be required at times when the holding company may not have the resources to provide it and therefore may require the holding company to borrow the funds or raise capital. Under such a scenario, any borrowing or funds needed to raise capital required to make a capital injection may be more difficult and expensive and could have an adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.
The Company is subject to heightened regulatory requirements as a result of total assets exceeding $10 billion. The Company’s total assets were $13.5 billion at December 31, 2023, thereby making it subject to requirements imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act and its implementing regulations, including examination by the CFPB to assess 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.
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Additional costs have been and will be incurred to implement processes, procedures, and monitoring of compliance with these requirements, including investing significant management attention.
Furthermore, the level of dividends the Company receives from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is reduced due to its asset size. The asset size whereby an institution received reduced dividends was originally established at $10 billion, but has been increased for inflation such that, for 2023, the asset level is $12.12 billion.
Risks Related to Dividend Payments
There is no guaranty that the Company will be able to continue to pay a dividend on its common stock or, if continued, will be able to pay a dividend at the current rate. The Board of Directors of the Company determines if, when and the amount of dividends that may be paid on the common stock. In making such determination under the Company’s capital management plan, the Board of Directors takes into account various factors including economic conditions, earnings, alternative uses of the Company’s capital, liquidity needs, the financial condition of the Company, applicable state law, tax and regulatory requirements and other factors deemed relevant by the Board of Directors. Although the Company has a history of paying a quarterly dividend on its common stock, there is no guaranty that such dividends will continue to be paid in the future or at what rate.
Dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock are discretionary and non-cumulative. Dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock are discretionary and will not be cumulative. If the Board of Directors does not declare a dividend on the Series A Preferred Stock, no dividend will be deemed to have accumulated for such dividend period, and the Company will have no obligation to pay any dividend for that dividend period at any time, whether or not the Board of Directors declares a dividend on the Series A Preferred Stock or any other class or series of the Company’s capital stock for any future dividend period. Any declaration and payment of dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock will depend upon, among other factors, the Company’s earnings and financial condition, liquidity and capital levels and requirements, the general economic and regulatory climate, the ability to service any equity or debt obligations senior to the Series A Preferred Stock, and other factors deemed relevant by the Board of Directors. In addition, under the Federal Reserve’s capital rules, dividends on the Series A Preferred Stock may only be paid out of net income, retained earnings, or surplus related to other additional Tier 1 capital instruments.

Risks Related to Competition
Competition may adversely affect profitability and liquidity. The Company experiences substantial competition in originating loans in its market area. This competition comes principally from other banks, savings institutions, mortgage banking companies and other lenders. Many of these competitors enjoy advantages, including greater financial resources and access to capital, stronger regulatory ratios and higher lending limits, a wider geographic presence, more accessible branch office locations, the ability to offer a wider array of services or more favorable pricing alternatives, as well as lower origination and operating costs. In addition, rapid technological changes and consumer preferences may result in increased competition for the Company’s services. Increased competition could reduce the Company’s net income by decreasing the number and size of loans that the Company originates and the interest rates charged on these loans. Competitive factors driven by consumer sentiment or otherwise can also reduce the Company’s ability to generate fee income, such as through overdraft fees.
In attracting deposits, the Company faces substantial competition from other insured depository institutions such as banks, savings institutions and credit unions, as well as institutions offering uninsured investment alternatives, including money market funds. Many competitors enjoy advantages, including greater financial resources and access to capital, stronger regulatory ratios, more aggressive marketing campaigns, better brand recognition and more branch locations. These competitors may offer higher interest rates than the Company, which could decrease the deposits that the Company attracts or require the Company to increase its rates to retain existing deposits or attract new deposits. Increased deposit competition could adversely affect the Company’s ability to generate the funds necessary for lending operations. As a result, the Company may need to seek other sources of funds that may be more expensive to obtain, which could increase the cost of funds.
In addition, rapid technological changes and consumer preferences may result in increased competition for the Company’s other services. A number of well-funded technology focused companies are innovating the payments, distributed ledger, and cryptocurrency networks and are attempting to disintermediate portions of the traditional banking model. A shift in the mix of payment forms away from the Company’s products and services could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position and results of operations.
The Company has also been active in competing for New Jersey governmental and municipal deposits. At December 31, 2023, these relationships included public school districts, local municipal governments, and cooperative health insurance funds, which such deposits accounted for approximately 23% of the Company’s total deposits. Public fund deposits from local government
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entities such as counties, townships, school districts and other municipalities generally have higher average balances and the Company’s inability to retain such funds could adversely affect liquidity or result in the use of higher-cost funding sources.
Risks Related to Strategic Matters
New lines of business or new products and services may subject the Company to additional risks. The Company may implement new lines of business or offer new products and services within existing lines of business. In developing and marketing new lines of business and/or new products and services significant time and resources may be invested. Initial timetables for the development and introduction of new lines of business and/or new products or services may not be achieved and price and profitability targets may not prove feasible. Furthermore, if customers do not perceive new offerings as providing significant value, they may fail to accept the new products and services. External factors, such as compliance with regulations, competitive alternatives, and shifting market preferences may also impact the successful implementation of a new line of business or a new product or service. Furthermore, the burden on management and information technology of introducing any new line of business and/or new product or service could have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the Company’s system of internal controls. Failure to successfully manage these risks in the development and implementation of new lines of business or new products or services could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.
The Company’s inability to tailor its retail delivery model to respond to consumer preferences may negatively affect earnings. The Company has expanded its market presence through acquisitions and growth. The Company’s branch network continues to be a very significant source of new business generation, however, consumers continue to migrate much of their routine banking to self-service channels. In recognition of this shift in consumer patterns, the Company has undertaken a comprehensive review of its branch network, resulting in branch consolidation accompanied by the enhancement of the Company’s capabilities to serve its customers through alternate delivery channels. The benefits of this strategy are dependent on the Company’s ability to realize expected expense reductions without experiencing significant customer attrition.
Risks Related to Operational Matters
Risks associated with system failures, interruptions, or breaches of security could disrupt businesses, result in the disclosure of confidential information, damage the reputation of, and create significant financial and legal exposure for the Company. Information technology systems are critical to the Company’s business, which is required to collect, process, transmit and store significant amounts of confidential information regarding the Company’s customers, employees and its own business, operations, plans and business strategies. The Company uses various technology systems to manage customer relationships, deposits and loans, general ledger, securities investments, and other processes. The computer systems, data management and internal processes, as well as those of third parties, are integral to the Company’s performance. The heavy reliance on information technology systems exposes the Company to operational risks, which include the risk of malfeasance by employees or persons outside the Company, errors relating to transaction processing and technology, systems failures or interruptions, failures to properly implement systems upgrades, breaches of the Company’s internal control systems and compliance requirements, and business continuation and disaster recovery.
Financial institutions and companies have reported breaches in the security of their websites or other systems, some of which have involved sophisticated and targeted attacks intended to obtain unauthorized access to confidential information, destroy data, disrupt or degrade service, sabotage systems or cause other damage, often through the introduction of computer viruses or malware, cyberattacks, ransomware and other means. Additionally, there is the risk of distributed denial-of-service or other similar attacks from technically sophisticated and well-resourced third parties, which are intended to disrupt online services. Despite the Company’s efforts to ensure the integrity of its systems, the Company may not be able to implement effective preventive measures against all security breaches, especially because the techniques used change frequently or are not recognized until launched, and because cyberattacks can originate from a wide variety of sources. Those parties may also attempt to fraudulently induce employees, customers or other users of the Company’s systems to disclose sensitive information in order to gain access to the Company’s data or that of its customers or clients. These risks may increase in the future as the Company continues to increase its mobile and other internet-based product offerings and systems.
In addition, a majority of data processing is outsourced to certain third-party providers. If these third-party providers encounter difficulties, or if there is difficulty communicating with them, the ability to adequately process and account for transactions could be affected, and business operations could be adversely affected. Threats to information security also exist in the processing of customer information through various vendors and their personnel. Breaches of security may occur through intentional or unintentional acts by those having authorized or unauthorized access to the confidential or other information of the Company and its customers, clients or counterparties. While management regularly reviews security assessments that were conducted on the Company’s third-party service providers that have access to sensitive and confidential information, there can be no assurance that their information security protocols are sufficient to withstand a cyber-attack or other security breach.
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The occurrence of any system failures, interruption, or breach of security of the Company’s or its vendors’ systems could cause serious negative consequences for the Company, including significant disruption of the Company’s operations, misappropriation of confidential information of the Company or that of its customers, or damage to computers or systems of the Company and those of its customers and counterparties, which could result in violations of applicable privacy and other laws, financial loss to the Company or to its customers, loss of confidence in the Company’s security measures, customer dissatisfaction, significant litigation exposure, and harm to the Company’s reputation, all of which could have a material adverse effect on the Company.
The Company’s board of directors relies on management in overseeing cybersecurity risk management. The Company has a standing Information Technology and Security Management Committee, consisting of leaders across multiple domains. The Chief Information Security Officer is the primary management liaison to the committee. The committee meets quarterly, or more frequently if needed, and reports to the board of directors after each meeting through committee minutes. While select Board members of the Company have experience in multiple disciplines including cybersecurity risk management, the Board relies on the Chief Information Security Officer and management for cybersecurity guidance. If the Company is not able to maintain qualified and experienced directors, it could negatively impact the Company’s security measures, reputation, and growth.
An inability to attract and retain qualified personnel or the unexpected loss of service of any key personnel could have a negative impact on financial condition and results of operations. The Company’s ability to maximize profitability and manage growth successfully will depend on its ability to continue to attract and retain management and loan officers experienced in banking and financial services and familiar with the communities in its market area. The unexpected loss of service of any key management personnel, or the inability to recruit and retain qualified personnel in the future, could adversely affect the Company. If the Company is not able to attract qualified personnel it could negatively impact the Company’s profitability and growth.
Risks Related to Accounting and Internal Controls Matters
The Company may incur impairments to goodwill. At December 31, 2023, the Company had $506.1 million in goodwill, which is evaluated for impairment at least annually. Significant negative industry or economic trends, including declines in the market price of the Company’s stock, reduced estimates of future cash flows or business disruptions could result in impairments to goodwill. The valuation methodology for assessing impairment requires management to make judgments and assumptions based on historical experience and to rely on projections of future operating performance. If the analysis results in impairment to goodwill, an impairment charge to earnings would be recorded in the financial statements during the period in which such impairment is determined to exist. Any such charge could have an adverse effect on the results of operations.
Controls and procedures may fail or be circumvented, which, if not remediated appropriately or timely, could result in loss of investor confidence and adversely impact the Company’s stock price. Management routinely reviews and updates internal controls. Any system of controls, however well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met. Any failure or circumvention of the controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on the Company, the results of operations and financial condition, investor confidence, and stock price.
Changes in management’s estimates and assumptions may have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements and the financial condition or operating results. In preparing periodic reports the Company is required to file under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, including the consolidated financial statements, management is and will be required under applicable rules and regulations to make estimates and assumptions as of a specified date. These estimates and assumptions are based on management’s best estimates and experience as of that date and are subject to substantial risk and uncertainty. Materially different results may occur as circumstances change and additional information becomes known, including the evaluation of the adequacy of the allowance for credit losses.
Changes in accounting standards could affect reported earnings. The bodies responsible for establishing accounting standards, including the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”), the SEC and other regulatory bodies, periodically change the financial accounting and reporting guidance that governs the preparation of the Company’s financial statements. These changes can be hard to predict and can materially impact how the financial condition and results of operations are reported. In some cases, the Company could be required to apply new or revised guidance retroactively.

Risks Related to Environmental and Other Global Matters
Hurricanes and other natural disasters, climate change or increases to flood insurance premiums could adversely affect asset quality and earnings. The Company’s market area includes counties in New Jersey with extensive coastal regions. These areas
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may be vulnerable to flooding or other damage from future storms or hurricanes, which could negatively impact the Company’s results of operations by disrupting operations, adversely impacting the ability of the Company’s borrowers to repay their loans, damaging collateral or reducing the value of real estate used as collateral.
The Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations could be adversely affected by natural disasters, health epidemics, and other catastrophic events. The Company could be adversely affected if key personnel or a significant number of employees were to become unavailable due to a pandemic, natural disaster, war, act of terrorism, accident, or other reason. Any of these events could result in the temporary reduction of operations, employees, and customers, which could limit the Company’s ability to provide services. Additionally, many of the Company’s borrowers may suffer property damage, experience interruptions of their business or lose their jobs after such events. Those borrowers might not be able to repay their loans, and the collateral for such loans may decline significantly in value.
Further, given the inter-connectivity of the global economy, pandemic disease and health events have the potential to negatively impact economic activities in many countries, including the United States, including the business of the Company’s borrowers. Additionally, global markets may be adversely affected by the emergence of widespread health emergencies or pandemics.
Societal responses to climate change could adversely affect the Company’s business and performance, including indirectly through impacts on its customers. Concerns over the long-term impacts of climate change have led and will continue to lead to governmental efforts around the world to mitigate those impacts. Consumers and businesses also may change their behavior as a result of these concerns. The Company and its customers will need to respond to new laws and regulations as well as consumer and business preferences resulting from climate change concerns. The Company and its customers may face cost increases, asset value reductions, operating process changes, and other issues. The impact on the Company’s customers will likely vary depending on their specific attributes, including reliance on or role in carbon intensive activities. Among the impacts could be a drop in demand for the Company’s products and services, particularly in certain sectors. In addition, the Company could face reductions in creditworthiness on the part of some customers or in the value of assets securing loans. The Company takes these risks into account when making lending and other decisions, such as business with climate-friendly companies, which may not be effective in protecting from the negative impact of new laws and regulations or changes in consumer or business behavior.
Risks Related to Card Networks
Changes in card network fees could impact the Company’s operations. From time to time, the card networks increase the fees (known as interchange fees) that they charge to acquirers and that the Company charges its merchants. It is possible that competitive pressures will result in the Company absorbing a portion of such increases in the future, which would increase costs, reduce profit margin and adversely affect the Company’s business and financial condition. In addition, the card networks require certain capital requirements. An increase in the required capital level would further limit the Company’s use of capital for other purposes.
Changes in card network rules or standards could adversely affect the Company’s business. The Company is a member of the Visa and MasterCard networks. As such, the Company is subject to card network rules resulting in a variety of fines or penalties that may be assessed on the Company. The termination of membership or any changes in card network rules or standards, including interpretation and implementation of existing rules or standards, could increase the cost of operating the merchant services business or limit the ability to provide debit card and cash management solutions to or through customers, and could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, and results of operations.
Other Risks Related to the Business
The Company’s stock price may be negatively impacted by unrelated bank failures and negative depositor confidence in depository institutions. Further, if the Company is unable to adequately manage liquidity, deposits, capital levels and interest rate risk, which have come under greater scrutiny in light of recent bank failures, it may have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations. On March 8, 2023, Silvergate Capital Corporation, La Jolla, California, the holding company for Silvergate Bank, announced its decision to voluntarily liquidate the Bank and wind down operations. On March 10, 2023, Silicon Valley Bank, Santa Clara, California, and on May 1, 2023, First Republic Bank, San Francisco, California, were closed by the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. On March 12, 2023, Signature Bank, New York, New York, was closed by the New York State Department of Financial Services. These banks also had elevated levels of uninsured deposits, which may be less likely to remain at the bank over time and less stable as a source of funding than insured deposits. These failures led to volatility and declines in the market for bank stocks and questions about depositor confidence in depository institutions.
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These events have led to a greater focus by institutions, investors and regulators on the on-balance sheet liquidity of and funding sources for financial institutions, the composition of its deposits, including the amount of uninsured deposits, the amount of accumulated other comprehensive loss, capital levels and interest rate risk management. If the Company is unable to adequately manage liquidity, deposits, capital levels and interest rate risk, it may have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.
Negative developments affecting the banking industry, and resulting media coverage, have eroded customer confidence in the banking system. The high-profile bank failures in early 2023 have generated significant market volatility among publicly traded bank holding companies and, in particular, regional banks. These market developments have negatively impacted customer confidence in the safety and soundness of financial institutions. As a result, customers may choose to maintain deposits with larger financial institutions or invest in higher yielding short-term fixed income securities, all of which could materially adversely impact the Company’s liquidity, loan funding capacity, net interest margin, capital and results of operations. While the Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the FDIC have made statements ensuring that depositors of these recently failed banks would have access to their deposits, including previously uninsured deposit accounts, there is no guarantee that such actions will be successful in restoring customer confidence in regional banks and the banking system more broadly.
The Company is a community bank and its ability to maintain its reputation is critical to the success of the business. The failure to do so may materially adversely affect the Company’s performance. The Company is a community bank, and its reputation is one of the most valuable components of its business. A key component of the Company’s business strategy is to rely on its reputation for customer service and knowledge of local markets to expand its presence by capturing new business opportunities from existing and prospective customers in the Company’s market area and contiguous areas. Threats to the Company’s reputation can come from many sources, including adverse sentiment about financial institutions generally, unethical practices, employee misconduct, failure to deliver minimum standards of service or quality, compliance deficiencies, cybersecurity incidents and questionable or fraudulent activities of the Company’s customers. In addition, third parties with whom the Company has relationships may take actions over which the Company has limited control that could negatively impact perceptions about the Company or the financial services industry. The proliferation of social media may increase the likelihood that negative information about the Company, whether or not the information is accurate, could impact the Company’s reputation and business. Negative publicity regarding the Company’s business, employees, or customers, with or without merit, may result in the loss of customers and employees, costly litigation and increased governmental regulation, all of which could adversely affect the Company’s business and operating results.
The Company’s funding sources may prove insufficient to replace deposits at maturity and support its future growth. A lack of liquidity could adversely affect the financial condition and results of operations and result in regulatory limits being placed on the Company. The Company maintains sufficient funds to respond to the needs of depositors and borrowers. Deposits have traditionally been the Company’s primary source of funds for use in lending and investment activities. The Company also receives funds from loan repayments, investment maturities and income on other interest-earning assets. While the Company emphasizes the generation of low-cost deposits as a source of funding, there is strong competition for such deposits in the Company’s market area. Additionally, deposit balances can decrease if customers identify alternative investments opportunities. Accordingly, as a part of the Company’s liquidity management, the Company may use a number of funding sources in addition to deposits and repayments and maturities of loans and investments. As the Company continues to grow, it is likely to become more dependent on these sources, which may include FHLB advances, federal funds purchased and brokered certificates of deposit. Adverse operating results or changes in industry conditions could lead to difficulty or an inability to access these additional funding sources.
The Company’s financial flexibility will be severely constrained if it is unable to maintain its access to funding or if adequate financing is not available to accommodate future growth at acceptable interest rates. Further, if the Company is required to rely more heavily on more expensive funding sources to support liquidity and future growth, the Company’s revenues may not increase proportionately to cover increased costs. In this case, operating margins and profitability would be adversely affected. Alternatively, the Company may need to sell a portion of its investment and/or loan portfolio to raise funds, which, depending upon market conditions, could result in realizing a loss.
Any decline in available funding could adversely impact the Company’s ability to originate loans, invest in securities, pay expenses, or fulfill obligations such as repaying borrowings or meeting deposit withdrawal demands, any of which could have a material adverse impact on liquidity, business, financial condition and results of operations.
A lack of liquidity could also attract increased regulatory scrutiny and potential restraints imposed by regulators. Depending on the capitalization status and regulatory treatment of depository institutions, including whether an institution is subject to a supervisory prompt corrective action directive, certain additional regulatory restrictions and prohibitions may apply, including restrictions on growth, restrictions on interest rates paid on deposits, restrictions or prohibitions on payment of dividends and restrictions on the acceptance of brokered deposits.
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FEDERAL AND STATE TAXATION
Federal Taxation
General. The Company and the Bank report their income on a calendar year basis using the accrual method of accounting, and are subject to Federal income taxation in the same manner as other corporations with some exceptions, including particularly the Bank’s reserve for bad debts. The following discussion of tax matters is intended only as a summary and does not purport to be a comprehensive description of the tax rules applicable to the Bank or the Company. The current applicable statutory tax rate is 21%.
Dividends Received Deduction and Other Matters. The Company may exclude from its income 100% of dividends received from the Bank as a member of the same affiliated group of corporations. The corporate dividends received deduction is generally 50% in the case of dividends received from unaffiliated corporations with which the Company and the Bank will not file a consolidated tax return, except that if the Company or the Bank own more than 20% of the stock of a corporation distributing a dividend then 65% of any dividends received may be deducted.
Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The Inflation Reduction Act implemented a new alternative minimum tax of 15% on corporations with profits in excess of $1 billion, a 1% excise tax on stock repurchases, and several tax incentives to promote clean energy and climate initiatives. These provisions were effective beginning January 1, 2023. This legislation has not had a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
State and Local Taxation
New Jersey Taxation. The Company files New Jersey income tax returns. For this purpose, taxable income generally means Federal taxable income, excluding some entities not included in the unitary filing and other adjustments (including addition of interest income on state and municipal obligations).
The Company is required to file a New Jersey income tax return because it does business in New Jersey. For New Jersey tax purposes, regular corporations are presently taxed at a rate equal to 9% of taxable income. New Jersey also imposed a temporary surtax of 2.5% which was effective through December 31, 2023. For 2019 and prospectively, New Jersey law requires combined filing for members of an affiliated group, but excludes companies that qualify as a New Jersey Investment Company (“ICs”) and Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITs”). The allocation and apportionment of taxable income to New Jersey may affect the overall tax rate.
During 2023, the New Jersey Division of Taxation enacted certain tax reform legislation. Most notably to the Company, for periods ending on and after July 31, 2023, companies meeting the statutory definition of “captive” ICs and REITs are required to be included in the combined filing. This legislation included an exception if at least 50% of the shares, by vote or value, are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by a state or federally chartered bank, savings bank, or savings and loan association (financial institution) with assets of $15 billion or less. As of December 31, 2023 the Company qualified for this exception.
New York Taxation. The Company is required to file New York State (“NYS”) and New York City (“NYC”) tax returns. The NYS and NYC returns require consolidation of all entities, including OceanFirst Realty, and taxable income, consistent with other states, generally means Federal taxable income subject to certain adjustments. For NYS tax purposes, corporations are presently taxed at a rate equal to 7.25% of taxable income, in addition to a temporary Metropolitan Transportation Authority surtax of 30% of the NYS tax rate, which is effective through December 31, 2026, for an overall NYS rate of 9.425%. For NYC tax purposes, the Company is taxed at a rate equal to 8.85%. The allocation and apportionment of taxable income to NYS and NYC may affect the overall tax rate.
Pennsylvania Taxation. The Bank is required to file a Pennsylvania bank shares tax return. The Bank’s net assets, less allowable deductions, are taxed at a rate presently equal to 0.95% of apportioned net assets. The allocation and apportionment to Pennsylvania may affect the overall tax rate.
Delaware Taxation. As a Delaware holding company not earning income in Delaware, the Company is exempted from Delaware corporate income tax but is required to file an annual report with and pay an annual franchise tax to the State of Delaware.
Item 1B.Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
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Item 1C.Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity Risk, Management and Strategy
Cybersecurity is a significant and integrated component of the Company’s risk management strategy, designed to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of sensitive information contained within the Bank’s information services. As a financial services company, cyber threats are present and growing, and the potential exists for a cybersecurity incident disrupting business operations, compromising sensitive data or both. To date, the Company has not, to its knowledge, experienced an incident materially affecting or reasonably likely to materially affect the Company.
To prepare and respond to incidents, the Company has implemented a multi-layered “defense-in-depth” cybersecurity strategy, integrating people, technology, and processes. This includes employee training, innovative technologies, and policies and procedures in the areas of Information Security, Data Governance, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, Privacy, Third-Party Risk Management, and Incident Response.
Core activities supporting the Company’s strategy include cybersecurity training, technology optimization, threat intelligence, vulnerability and patch management and the testing of incident response, business continuity and disaster recovery capabilities.
Employees play a significant role in the defense against cybersecurity threats. Every employee is responsible for protecting the Bank and client information. Accordingly, employees complete formal training and acknowledge security policies annually. In addition, employees are subjected to regular simulated phishing assessments, designed to sharpen threat detection and reporting capabilities.
Employees are supported with solutions designed to identify, prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from incidents. Notable technologies include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, security automation and response capabilities, user behavior analytics, multi-factor authentication, data backups to immutable storage and business continuity applications. Notable services include 24/7 security monitoring and response, continuous vulnerability scanning, third-party monitoring, and threat intelligence.
Like many other companies, the Company relies on third-party vendor solutions to support its operations; many of these vendors have access to sensitive and proprietary information. Third-party vendors continue to be a notable source of operational and informational risk. Accordingly, the Company has implemented a Third-Party Risk Management program, which includes a detailed onboarding process and periodic reviews of vendors with access to sensitive company data.
As indicated above, supporting the operations are incident response, business continuity, and disaster recovery programs. These programs identify and assess threats and evaluate risk. Further, these programs support a coordinated response when responding to incidents. Periodic exercises and tests verify these programs’ effectiveness.
Validating solution and program effectiveness in relation to regulatory compliance and industry standards is important. Accordingly, the Company engages third-party consultants and independent auditors to conduct penetration tests, cybersecurity risk assessments, external audits, and program development and enhancement where applicable.
Cybersecurity Governance
Management Committee Oversight

The Company has established an Information Technology and Security Management Committee consisting of department leaders across multiple functional areas including Data Engineering, Enterprise Applications, Strategic Planning, Technology, and Cybersecurity. These functional areas are led by qualified financial service technology professionals, with extensive certifications and advanced degrees in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity knowledge is expanded across all areas of Information Technology and is foundational in the approach from planning to execution. The committee focuses on strategic and tactical delivery, policy oversight, and the assessment and management of material risks from cybersecurity threats. Policies are also shared with the management Risk Committee to provide a second line review in alignment with Enterprise Risk functions. All Information Security activity is led by the Chief Information Security Officer, which includes developing and implementing the information security program and reporting on cybersecurity matters to the Board. The Chief Information Security Officer has several years of experience leading cybersecurity operations in financial services, supported by a team with various security,
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technical, risk, audit and leadership certifications. Management provides cybersecurity statistics and details to the board monthly.
Board Committee Oversight
The Company’s Risk and IT Board Committees provide oversight of the cyber program. Each committee consists of Board members, chaired by an independent director. Committee members have extensive expertise in various disciplines, including risk management, communications, information technology, litigation, banking and transactional matters, regulatory compliance, and cybersecurity. Board Committees receive regular reports informing on the effectiveness of the overall cybersecurity program and the detection, response, and recovery from significant cyber incidents. Cybersecurity metrics are reported quarterly to both committees and Key Risk Indicators are reported to the Risk Committee.

Item 2.Properties
At December 31, 2023, the Bank primarily conducted its business through its headquarters located in Toms River, New Jersey, and its administrative office located in Red Bank, New Jersey. The Bank also conducts its business at 39 branch offices and various deposit production facilities located throughout central and southern New Jersey and the greater metropolitan areas of New York City and Philadelphia. The Bank also operates commercial loan production offices in New Jersey, New York City, the greater Philadelphia area, Baltimore, and Boston.
Item 3.Legal Proceedings
The Company and the Bank are not involved in any pending legal proceedings other than routine legal proceedings occurring in the ordinary course of business. Such other routine legal proceedings in the aggregate are believed by management to be immaterial to the Company’s financial condition or results of operations.
Item 4.Mine Safety Disclosures
Not Applicable.
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PART II
 
Item 5.Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information for Common Stock
OceanFirst Financial Corp.’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol OCFC. As of February 20, 2024, there were 2,611 common stockholders of record.
Stock Performance Graph
The following graph shows a comparison of total stockholder return on OceanFirst Financial Corp.’s common stock, based on the market price of the Company’s common stock with the cumulative total return of companies in the NASDAQ Composite Index and the KBW Regional Banking Index for the period from December 31, 2018 through December 31, 2023. The graph may not be indicative of possible future performance of the Company’s common stock. Cumulative return assumes the reinvestment of dividends and is expressed in dollars based on an initial investment of $100.
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Period Ending
Index12/31/1812/31/1912/31/2012/31/2112/31/2212/31/23
OceanFirst Financial Corp.$100.00$116.70$88.57$109.05$108.12$92.74
NASDAQ Composite Index100.00136.69198.10242.03163.28236.17
KBW Regional Banking Index100.00123.81113.03154.45143.75143.17
For the year ended December 31, 2023 and 2022, the Company paid an annual cash dividend of $0.80 and $0.74 per share, respectively.
On June 25, 2021, the Company announced the authorization to repurchase up to an additional 5% of the Company’s outstanding common stock, or 3.0 million shares. The Company did not repurchase any shares of its common stock during the quarter ended December 31, 2023. At December 31, 2023, there were 2,934,438 shares available for repurchase.
Item 6.Reserved

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Item 7.Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Overview
OceanFirst Financial Corp. (the “Company”) has been the holding company for OceanFirst Bank N.A. (the “Bank”) since the Company’s initial public offering.
The Company conducts business primarily through its ownership of the Bank, which, at December 31, 2023, primarily operated out of its headquarters located in Toms River, New Jersey and its administrative office located in Red Bank, New Jersey. The Bank also conducts its business at 39 branch offices and various deposit production facilities located throughout central and southern New Jersey and the greater metropolitan areas of New York City and Philadelphia. The Bank also operates commercial loan production offices in New Jersey, New York City, the greater Philadelphia area, Baltimore, and Boston.
The Company’s results of operations are primarily dependent on net interest income, which is the difference between the interest income earned on interest-earning assets, such as loans and investments, and the interest expense on its interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowings. The Company also generates non-interest income such as income from bankcard services, trust and asset management products and services, deposit account services, and commercial loan swap income. The Company’s operating expenses primarily consist of compensation and employee benefits, occupancy and equipment, marketing, federal deposit insurance and regulatory assessments, data processing, check card processing, professional fees and other general and administrative expenses. The Company’s results of operations are significantly affected by competition, general economic conditions, including levels of unemployment and real estate values, as well as changes in market interest rates, inflation, government policies and actions of regulatory agencies.
Strategy
The Company operates as a full-service regional community bank delivering comprehensive financial products and services, which includes commercial and consumer financing, deposit services, and wealth management products and services, throughout New Jersey and the major metropolitan markets of Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Boston. The Company competes with larger, out-of-market financial service providers through its local and digital focus and the delivery of superior service. The Company also competes with smaller in-market financial service providers by offering a broad array of products and services as well as the ability to extend larger credits.
The Company’s strategy has been to grow profitability while limiting exposure to credit, interest rate, and operational risks. To accomplish these objectives, the Company has sought to: (1) grow the commercial banking business, with a particular focus on strengthening commercial and industrial banking; (2) expand the residential lending business, focusing on the secondary market and saleable loan business; (3) diversify and strengthen its deposit base through product offerings appealing to a broadened customer base; and (4) improve operating efficiency through the ongoing investment in information technology.
The Company focuses on prudent growth to create value for stockholders, which may include opportunistic acquisitions. The Company will also continue to build additional operational infrastructure and invest in key personnel in response to growth and changing business conditions.
Although the Company’s overall long-term strategy has not changed, the Company took several precautionary measures in response to the bank failures of early 2023 and the related industry-wide concerns around liquidity, funding, and the rapidly increasing interest rate environment. These measures included building liquidity, deposits, and contingent funding sources; strengthening and monitoring credit quality; re-evaluating the securities portfolio; and building and preserving capital. The Company has continued to maintain and strengthen its liquidity and capital position, while servicing its customers and communities. Refer to ‘Liquidity and Capital Resources’ for further discussion.
Commercial Banking
The Company continues to distinguish itself from the mega-bank competition with access to responsive, local decision-makers and from the smaller bank competition that are unable to deliver the same depth of products, services, and technology. The Company supports commercial business clients of varying sizes and complexity through the extension of credit and cash management services through its advisory relationship management model. The Company has had success in developing new client relationships in the Company’s focused expansion markets, which include Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Baltimore. Expanding the Company’s geographies provides a hedge on risks or issues that may arise if the Company was fully concentrated in a single market.
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While these growth markets are important to the Company’s strategy, the Company has continued efforts to keep the community bank feel for customers, employees, and stakeholders, which has been a focal point for longstanding stable funding, brand reputation, and community development efforts in the Company’s legacy markets.
The Company’s early expansion efforts were dependent on commercial real estate (“CRE”) lending, however, its path forward as a regional bank includes a transition away from CRE dependence and a focus on future growth predominately around the C&I portfolio. The Company has made a significant effort to recruit new relationship managers that specialize in clients doing business in deposit rich industries. The Company anticipates that the acquisition of these customers will help to drive quality funding with expanded yields. Additionally, the Company continues to improve its treasury management function by enhancing capabilities through expanded product offerings and thoughtfully evaluating opportunities to further bolster talent and technology to better serve the Company’s customers.
At December 31, 2023, commercial loans (which includes multi-family and commercial real estate loans, commercial construction loans, and commercial and industrial loans) represented 68.3% of the Company’s total loans, as compared to 68.2% at December 31, 2021, while commercial and industrial loans represented 6.5% of total loans as compared to 5.2% at December 31, 2021.
Due to industry and market events during 2023, the Company methodically slowed loan growth in an effort to maintain strong liquidity and grow capital levels. Commercial loan products entail a higher degree of credit risk than residential real estate lending activity. As a result, management continues to employ a well-defined credit policy focusing on quality underwriting and close oversight and Board monitoring. See Risk Factors – Risks Related to Lending Activities – The Company’s emphasis on commercial lending may expose the Company to increased lending risks.
Investments in Residential Lending
The Company began its expansion of the residential lending business into new and adjacent geographies, which included the recruitment of leadership roles and sales personnel in expanded geographies and a focus on secondary marketing and saleable loans. While the economic environment in 2023, with markedly higher rates, was a headwind, the Company remains committed to this segment and have deepened its focus on the longstanding commitment to its communities with enhanced products and pricing in the NeighborFirst and special credit programs and the recruitment of Community Reinvestment Act (“CRA”) residential loan officers for the Company’s footprint. The Company has a long history as a residential lender and continues to expand this portfolio with a continued focus on customer relationships. At December 31, 2023, residential loans represented 29.3% of the Company’s total loans at December 31, 2023 as compared to 28.8% at December 31, 2021.
Diversify and Strengthen Deposit Base
The Company continues to focus on deposit growth through a series of initiatives intended to both grow deposits and diversify sources of liquidity. The Company seeks to increase deposits in its primary market area by improving market penetration. The Company has benefited from and remains focused on efforts to attract business deposits in conjunction with its commercial lending operations and from an expanded mix of retail products and services. Ongoing product development and design to deepen market penetration will allow the Company to rely on competencies in commercial lending and the retail branch network to drive growth and diversification of deposits. The Company continues to invest in the overall customer experience with the Company’s customer satisfaction performance and digital capabilities on par with national banks and fintech companies.
Operating Efficiency
The Company relies on technology and the resources that support its operations to provide a broad suite of financial services and experience to its customers and employees, to differentiate the Company in its diverse markets, and to drive operational efficiencies that yield performance with strong customer services. The Company’s investment in technology lays a foundation for future growth, scale, and operational efficiency. Focus areas include digital-direct customer engagement, efficient customer servicing, support safe banking operations and strategic technology change, and competitively delivering new lending and customer self-service capabilities in the post-pandemic influenced environment.
Capital Management
The Company actively manages its capital position to ensure adequate coverage and improve return on stockholders’ equity. The Company conducts capital stress testing, which includes evaluating the effects of various scenarios on capital, as one means of evaluating capital adequacy. The results of stress testing are considered in the capital planning process and strategy
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development. The Company also analyzes the need to raise additional capital in the future, through issuance of debt or equity, to meet its commitments and business needs. Over the past five years, the Company has implemented or announced two stock repurchase programs. On June 25, 2021, the Company announced the authorization to repurchase up to an additional 5% of the Company’s outstanding common stock, or 3.0 million shares. For the year ended December 31, 2023, the Company did not repurchase any shares of its common stock under this repurchase program to strategically build capital. At December 31, 2023, the Company remains authorized to repurchase 2,934,438 shares and will prudently evaluate repurchase opportunities while maintaining existing capital levels.
Selected Financial Data
The selected consolidated financial and other data of the Company set forth below is derived in part from, and should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company and Notes thereto presented elsewhere in this Annual Report.
 At December 31,
 202320222021
 (dollars in thousands)
Selected Financial Condition Data:
Total assets$13,538,253 $13,103,896 $11,739,616 
Debt securities available-for-sale, at estimated fair value753,892 457,648 568,255 
Debt securities held-to-maturity, net of allowance for securities credit losses1,159,735 1,221,138 1,139,193 
Equity investments100,163 102,037 101,155 
Restricted equity investments, at cost93,766 109,278 53,195 
Loans receivable, net of allowance for loan credit losses10,136,721 9,868,718 8,583,352 
Deposits10,434,949 9,675,206 9,732,816 
Federal Home Loan Bank ("FHLB") advances848,636 1,211,166 — 
Securities sold under agreements to repurchase and other borrowings269,604 264,500 347,910 
Total stockholders’ equity1,661,945 1,585,464 1,516,553 
 For the Year Ended December 31,
 202320222021
 (dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)