February 22, 2022
Veteran banker Susanne Svizeny has been promoted at OceanFirst Bank from Philadelphia market president to Mid-Atlantic regional president, as the New Jersey bank prepares for significant growth in Maryland, Virginia and Delaware.
Svizeny will continue to oversee Philadelphia while expanding her territory to include the Delmarva, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Virginia geographies. Her colleague Bradley Fouss has been promoted to Greater Philadelphia market president and will oversee the day-to-day operations of the Philadelphia team.
The reshuffling became necessary when parent company OceanFirst Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: OCFC) accelerated its entry into the Maryland and D.C. markets in November with
The reshuffling became necessary when parent company OceanFirst Financial Corp. (NASDAQ: OCFC) accelerated its entry into the Maryland and D.C. markets in November with the planned acquisition of Salisbury, Maryland-based Partners Bancorp for $186 million.
The proposed deal represents Toms River, New Jersey-based OceanFirst’s eighth acquisition in a little over six years. Partners Bancorp (NASDAQ: PTRS), created by the 2019 merger of Seaford, Delaware’s The Bank of Delmarva and Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Virginia Partners Bank, has $1.6 billion in assets, $1.1 billion in loans, $1.4 billion in deposits and 20 branches in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. The deal is slated to close in the second quarter.
The deal gives a turbo boost to Ocean First’s organic move into the Maryland and Virginia markets that began last May when it entered Baltimore with four lenders from BBVA and Washington with one lender from Wells Fargo.
Svizeny was in Annapolis Tuesday along with OceanFirst COO Joseph Lebel meeting with members of the various lending team from Partners. She said her role will be to integrate the BBVA and Partners teams into OceanFirst and oversee lending activities.
Such an expansive territory is nothing new for Svizeny. Before she joined OceanFirst in 2019, she was executive vice president and division manager of commercial banking at Wells Fargo, with responsibility for middle market lending (companies with between $20 million and $250 million in annual revenue) in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Western New York and Eastern Canada.
“Running diverse teams in diverse markets is something that I've done in the past,” Svizeny said. “And so I'm really excited because it adds a lot of diversity — diversity to our book, diversity of people, diversity of customers, diversity of geographies and diversity of opportunity. And I think that's what I love doing: Helping these teams really be successful in each of those markets and understanding those markets because they're different. It’s about understanding the industries that drive those markets."
Svizeny said the OceanFirst and Partners teams can learn from each other. The Partners team is on the ground in these new markets and has existing relationships and knowledge. In joining OceanFirst, they become part of a much larger bank and can offer existing and new clients larger loans because it has a larger lending limit and wider array of products and services.
As for the Philadelphia market, OceanFirst now has roughly 15 commercial lenders in Philadelphia, Doylestown and Newtown Square. With the five BBVA lenders and Partners has 27 commercial lenders in Reston, Virginia; and Annapolis, Salisbury and Ocean City in Maryland.
Svizeny said OceanFirst’s book of business in the Philadelphia market reached $1.3 billion in 2021, just a few years after entering the market officially. That was achieved through organic means and even before the Partners deal was announced. CEO Christopher Maher said the goal was to grow in a similar fashion in new markets such as Baltimore and Boston. The Baltimore market should now receive a boost with the Partners deal.