Bridgehampton National Bank

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Bridge Bancorp, Inc. Reports First Quarter 2012 Results

April 23, 2012

BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y., April 23, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Bridge Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: BDGE), the parent company of The Bridgehampton National Bank, today announced net income and earnings per share for the first quarter of 2012. Highlights of the Company's financial results for the quarter include:

  • Net income of $2.9 million and $.35 per share for the quarter, a 36% increase in net income over 2011.
  • Returns on average assets and equity of .88% and 11.52%, respectively.
  • Net interest income of $11.4 million, an increase of $1.6 million over 2011, with a net interest margin of 3.70%.
  • Total assets of $1.39 billion at March 2012, 29% higher than March 2011.
  • Loan growth of $121 million or 23%, compared to March 2011.
  • Deposits of $1.20 billion, a 24% increase compared to the first quarter of 2011.
  • Continued solid asset quality metrics and reserve coverage.
  • Tier 1 capital increased by $40 million or 49% from March 2011.
  • Declared quarterly dividend of $.23 per share.

"These record results and the Company's substantial growth reflect our staff's successful efforts in executing our community banking model. We increased revenue and income by leveraging market opportunities, increasing deposits, and carefully deploying these funds as loans for new and existing customers, while still delivering high levels of customer service efficiently. For over 100 years this has been our business strategy, and we believe, if effectively managed, it remains a viable formula for a successful community bank," commented Kevin M. O'Connor, president and CEO of Bridge Bancorp, Inc.

Net Earnings and Returns

Net income for the quarter ended March 2012 was $2.9 million or $.35 per share, compared to $2.2 million or $.34 per share, for the same period in 2011. The Company's net income and earnings per share for the 2011 first quarter includes $0.2 million in acquisition costs, net of tax, associated with the Hamptons State Bank ("HSB") merger, which closed in May 2011.

The increase in net income reflects growth in net interest income and securities gains, partially offset by higher noninterest expense. Earnings per share for the quarter ended March 2012, reflects the higher share count associated with the $24 million in capital raised in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Growth in interest-earning assets generated higher quarterly net interest income. Average earning assets increased by 28% or $282.8 million compared to the first quarter of 2011. This growth is coincident with a net interest margin decline to 3.70% from 4.14% in the first quarter of 2011. The margin decline is attributable to historically low market interest rates on repricing assets and liabilities offsetting strong deposit growth and higher loan demand. The provision for loan losses was $0.8 million for the quarter; $0.1 million higher than the comparable 2011 quarter due primarily to loan portfolio growth. In the 2012 first quarter, total noninterest income, excluding net securities gains, increased 16%. During the quarter, certain securities were sold at a gain of $0.3 million with the proceeds utilized to pay off higher rate borrowings. The $0.8 million increase in noninterest expense included $0.2 million in costs associated with the aforementioned extinguishment of debt. Although expenses have increased in 2012, the Company's efficiency ratio improved to 61.0% from 63.7% in the first quarter of 2011.

"The revenue improvements were driven by growth in our loan and investment portfolios offsetting the impact of lower rates. We continue to expand and develop customer relationships generating core deposit growth in both new and existing markets. Our higher capital level allows us to expand and fund new loans, generating incremental revenue to offset higher costs associated with credit and investments in new branches, technology and staff," noted Mr. O'Connor.

Balance Sheet and Asset Quality

Total assets of $1.39 billion at quarter end were $311.4 million higher than the March 2011 level of $1.07 billion, reflecting strong organic growth and, to a lesser extent, the May 2011 HSB acquisition. Loans increased $120.5 million or 23%, while investment securities increased $218.7 million or 47%. Growth was funded principally by deposits, which ended the first quarter at $1.2 billion, including $318.5 million of demand deposits. Additionally, as part of a strategy to deploy excess capital, borrowings were increased and the additional funding was used to purchase investment securities. Finally, the $2.3 million in nonperforming loans held for sale at December 2011 were sold in January 2012 without generating a gain or loss during the quarter.

Asset quality measures improved as nonperforming assets ("NPA") at March 2012 declined 55% to $3.4 million from $7.5 million at March 2011, and currently nonperforming loans represent only 0.53% of total loans, compared to 1.43% at March 2011. The allowance for loan losses at March 31, 2012 increased $2.3 million to $11.3 million, compared to March 2011. The allowance as a percentage of total loans was 1.76% at March 2012, compared to 1.72% at March 2011.

"These current asset quality metrics remain well above peers and reflect our adherence to disciplined and prudent underwriting standards," commented Mr. O'Connor.

Stockholders' equity grew $43.1 million to $110.0 million at March 2012 compared to $66.9 million in March 2011. The increase reflects the capital raised in 2011 through stock offerings, the HSB transaction and the Dividend Reinvestment Plan, as well as continued earnings growth, net of dividends. Overall, tier 1 capital increased to $121.7 million or 49% higher than the March 2011 level. The Company's capital ratios exceed all regulatory minimums and the Bank continues to be classified as well capitalized.

Challenges & Opportunities

"The challenges for our industry and our Company are obvious: the economy and its impact on our customers and credit costs, market interest rates and their impact on margins and capital, the regulatory environment and its impact on revenue and expenses, and finally competition, both current and prospective, and its potential to profoundly challenge our current business model," noted Mr. O'Connor.

"Our opportunities are the by-product of these challenges. We have to maintain our stringent underwriting standards and diligently monitor credit concentrations and exposures as we grow. We need to prudently price all products and structure our balance sheet for the eventuality of higher rates. We will seek new sources of revenue while monitoring expenditures and identifying opportunities to achieve efficiencies. Finally, we must capitalize on current competitors' dislocations and distractions while investing in infrastructure and technology to be prepared for the evolving competitive landscape.

"Our strategic goals reflect this assessment and these tenets remain the basis for implementing the tactical initiatives of our business plan. They are considered in credit decisions, loan pricing and setting deposit rates. They determine staffing levels in branches, operations and compliance-related initiatives. They factor into our investments in businesses to produce other sources of revenue. We remain committed to branch-based banking, and during the second quarter, we will be opening our 21st branch in Ronkonkoma, near MacArthur Airport, a regional transportation hub in our marketplace. We continue to assess opportunities for additional branch expansion in contiguous markets. We also expect to roll out our new electronic banking platform in the second half of this year. This will allow us to enhance the delivery of current technology, and more importantly, effectively deliver the next generation of products and services to our existing and new customer base.

"Finally, we are proud to again be ranked by SNL as one of the top 100 banks in the country in terms of financial performance and in fact, we were ranked second in New York state and the only bank in the state to repeat," concluded Mr. O'Connor.

About Bridge Bancorp, Inc.

Bridge Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company engaged in commercial banking and financial services through its wholly owned subsidiary, The Bridgehampton National Bank. Established in 1910, the Bank, with assets of approximately $1.4 billion, and a primary market area of Suffolk County, Long Island, operates 20 retail branch locations. Through this branch network and its electronic delivery channels, it provides deposit and loan products and financial services to local businesses, consumers and municipalities. Title insurance services are offered through the Bank's wholly owned subsidiary, Bridge Abstract. Bridge Investment Services offers financial planning and investment consultation.

The Bridgehampton National Bank continues a rich tradition of involvement in the community by supporting programs and initiatives that promote local business, the environment, education, health care, social services and the arts.

The Bridge Bancorp, Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=5122

Please see the attached tables for selected financial information.

This report may contain statements relating to the future results of the Company (including certain projections and business trends) that are considered "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "PSLRA"). Such forward-looking statements, in addition to historical information, involve risk and uncertainties, and are based on the beliefs, assumptions and expectations of management of the Company. Words such as "expects," "believes," "should," "plans," "anticipates," "will," "potential," "could," "intend," "may," "outlook," "predict," "project," "would," "estimated," "assumes," "likely" and variation of such similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Examples of forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, possible or assumed estimates with respect to the financial condition, expected or anticipated revenue, and results of operations and business of the Company, including earnings growth; revenue growth in retail banking lending and other areas; origination volume in the consumer, commercial and other lending businesses; current and future capital management programs; noninterest income levels, including fees from the title abstract subsidiary and banking services as well as product sales; tangible capital generation; market share; expense levels; and other business operations and strategies. For this presentation, the Company claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the PSLRA.

Factors that could cause future results to vary from current management expectations include, but are not limited to, changing economic conditions; legislative and regulatory changes, including increases in FDIC insurance rates; monetary and fiscal policies of the federal government; changes in tax policies; rates and regulations of federal, state and local tax authorities; changes in interest rates; deposit flows; the cost of funds; demands for loan products; demand for financial services; competition; changes in the quality and composition of the Bank's loan and investment portfolios; changes in management's business strategies; changes in accounting principles, policies or guidelines; changes in real estate values; a failure to realize or an unexpected delay in realizing, the growth opportunities and cost savings anticipated from the Hamptons State Bank merger; an unexpected increase in operating costs, customer losses and business disruptions following the Hamptons State Bank merger; expanded regulatory requirements as a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, which could adversely affect operating results; and other factors discussed elsewhere in this report, and in other reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this report, and the Company assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.