December 12, 2019
TOMS RIVER - OceanFirst Financial Corp. received shareholder and regulatory approval to merge with two banks in moves that will expand both its market share at the Shore and its reach into New York City.
The company said the approvals set the stage for it to close on the acquisitions of Two River Bancorp and Country Bank Holding Co. Inc. around Jan. 1, 2020.
The Toms River-based parent company of OceanFirst Bank has assets of $8.1 billion. It announced in August that it planned to buy Tinton Falls-based Two River for $182.8 million and New York-based Country Bank for $102.2 million, which would add nearly $2 billion in assets.
The moves mark the latest in an OceanFirst buying spree that started five years ago and has seen it snap up Colonial American Bank, Cape Bank, Ocean City Home Bank, Capital Bank of New Jersey and Sun Bancorp.
Analysts have said the acquisitions should help OceanFirst add deposits to help it make more loans.
In October, the company reported net income for the third quarter of $25 million, or 50 cents a share, compared with net income of $24.1 million, also 50 cents a share, the same quarter a year ago.
Its stock was at $24.20 at 5 p.m. Wednesday, up about 8% since the beginning of the year.
The merger with Two River in particular could lead to branch closings. Two River, founded in 2000, has 14 branches, some of which are near OceanFirst locations.
OceanFirst is reviewing options for consolidation, spokeswoman Jill Hewitt said, noting customers would be notified well in advance of any closings.
She said 70% of employees at the banks OceanFirst has acquired the past five years have stayed on. The company has about 1,000 employees.
"We have offered positions to many Two River employees already and will continue to identify opportunities over the next several months as we coordinate the integration of the Two River customers’ accounts and services," she said.