SOURCE: First Bank

First Bank

September 21, 2015 09:00 ET

First Bank Recognized as One of the Top 10 Fastest Growing Community Banks in U.S.

Mid-Atlantic Region's Fastest Growing Bank Increases Assets by 140% in 36-Month Span

HAMILTON, NJ--(Marketwired - September 21, 2015) - First Bank (NASDAQ: FRBA) is the fastest growing Mid-Atlantic-based bank according to data compiled from business-intelligence firm SNL Financial during the last 36 months. Additionally, First Bank ranked sixth out of 432 community banks (<$1B 2015 assets) based on asset-growth rate in the United States.

When compared to 104 other Mid-Atlantic community banks, First Bank grew the fastest, totaling 140 percent growth in its assets from the second quarter of 2012 to the same quarter in 2015. Total reported assets in the second quarter of 2012 were $314.9 million, which grew to $757 million in the second quarter of 2015.

Growth continues with merger and organic expansion

In the past three years, asset growth has been driven by organic and merger activities. First Bank acquired the stand-alone Heritage Community Bank, adding three branches in Morris County in March 2014. "From a financial and strategic perspective, our acquisition of Heritage Community Bank has been very successful," said Patrick L. Ryan, First Bank's president and CEO. "Growth at existing branches together with the successful opening of new locations has generated healthy increases in deposits that have supported our loan growth."

First Bank opened its first branch in Bucks County, PA, in May and prior to that, a branch in Cranbury, NJ in October 2014.

"On a percentage basis, we achieved the highest growth rate in the region," he added. "As we have grown, we have seen continued diversification across both commercial and industrial (C&I) and commercial real-estate loans."

Streamlined commercial lending program focuses on customer needs

Applying its customer-centric approach, First Bank has grown its commercial lending program, which features a streamlined process, flexible terms and personalized customer service with key decision makers.

"As commercial lenders, we are helping families in the communities we serve by offering business owners access to capital they can use to grow their businesses," Ryan said. "As entrepreneurs ourselves working to grow our business, we really understand their needs and can work with them as true partners."

Continued recognition for banking excellence

In addition, First Bank also was named one of the top small cap banks in the country in 2014. Investment banking firm Sandler O'Neill admitted 12 new members to its elite SM-All Stars Class of 2014, which includes first-time member First Bank. Sandler evaluated 443 publicly traded banks and thrifts with a market cap below $2.5 billion. The evaluation focused on growth, profitability, credit quality and capital strength. These elite banks produced an average earnings-per-share (EPS) growth of 14.1 percent, compared to 2.7 percent EPS growth for all banks and thrifts.

For more information about First Bank, visit www.firstbanknj.com.

About First Bank
First Bank (www.firstbanknj.com) is a New Jersey state-chartered bank with ten full-service branches in Cranbury, Denville, Ewing, Hamilton, Lawrence, Randolph (2), Somerset and Williamstown, New Jersey, and Trevose, Pennsylvania. With $757 million in assets as of June 30, 2015, First Bank offers a traditional range of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses throughout the New York City to Philadelphia, PA corridor. First Bank's common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol "FRBA".

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