SOURCE: First Bank

April 20, 2009 12:29 ET

First Bank Grows to $189 Million in Assets -- Opens Two New Central NJ Branches; Reports Q1 2009 Financial Results

WILLIAMSTOWN, NJ--(Marketwire - April 20, 2009) - First Bank (OTCBB: FRBA) today announced that the Bank had experienced significant growth in the first quarter of 2009. Total assets increased to $189.3 million at March 31, 2009 compared to $62.9 million at December 31, 2008. Deposits also experienced significant growth increasing to $161.1 million at March 31, 2009 compared to $32.9 million at December 31, 2008. Total loans reached $59.6 million at the end of March compared to $40.8 million at year end of 2008.

In the fourth quarter of 2008, a prominent central New Jersey investor group successfully completed a recapitalization of First Bank raising $19.2 million in net new capital. First Bank ended the first quarter of 2009 with total capital of $24.7 million compared to $7.4 million at March 31, 2008. First Bank's book value was $7.25 per share at March 31, 2009.

First Bank's capital structure to support future growth remains solid. At March 31, 2009, First Bank's Tier 1 and risk-based capital ratios exceeded those required by regulatory guidelines to be considered well capitalized. Asset quality remained strong with nonperforming assets to total assets of only 0.05% at March 31, 2009.

First Bank reported a net loss for the first quarter of 2009 of $789,000 or $0.23 per share, as the Bank incurred costs related to its current growth. The Bank's occupancy expense increased as the Bank opened its Lawrence and Ewing offices in Mercer County. In addition, the Bank's compensation expense increased as the Bank added both management, and branch and customer service staff as part of First Bank's expansion plans.

President and Chief Executive Officer James W. Loney discussed first quarter 2009 results. "We were extremely pleased by the community's reception to our new offices in Mercer County as they far surpassed even our most optimistic projections," he stated.

Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick L. Ryan expanded on the results at the new branches. "We stayed open late; we brought the paperwork to the customers' places of business; we modified processes to make sure customers did not wait longer than absolutely necessary; we did whatever it took to meet the great demand for our products and services," he reflected. "I can't tell you how proud I am of the great team we assembled to help run our new branches. Everyone went beyond the call of duty to make these new locations successful. You are starting to hear comments in the marketplace that strong, stable community banks are well positioned to succeed in this environment. Our success in the first quarter is strong support for that theory."

About First Bank

First Bank is a New Jersey, state chartered bank, which conducts its business with three full-service branches in Ewing, Lawrence, and Williamstown, New Jersey. First Bank offers a range of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses in its Central and Southern New Jersey markets. First Bank's common stock is quoted on the OTC Bulletin Board under the symbol "FRBA."

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, either expressed or implied, which are provided to assist the reader in understanding anticipated future financial performance. These statements involve certain risks, uncertainties, estimates and assumptions made by management, which are subject to factors beyond the company's control and could impede its ability to achieve these goals. These factors include general economic conditions, trends in interest rates, the ability of our borrowers to repay their loans, and results of regulatory exams, among other factors.

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