Bridgehampton National Bank

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Bridge Bancorp, Inc. Reports Third Quarter 2012 Results

October 23, 2012

BRIDGEHAMPTON, N.Y., Oct. 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 third quarter of 2012. Highlights for the quarter include:

  • Net income of $3.4 million and $.39 per share for the quarter, a 21% increase in net income over 2011.
     
  • Returns on average assets and equity of .93% and 12.11%, respectively.
     
  • Net interest income of $11.8 million, an increase of $0.3 million over 2011, with a net interest margin of 3.55%.
     
  • Total assets of $1.57 billion at September 2012, 22% higher than September 2011.
     
  • Loans of $732.5 million, 22% higher than September 2011.
     
  • Deposits of $1.31 billion, 14% higher than September 2011.   
     
  • Continued solid asset quality metrics and increased reserve coverage.   
     
  • Tier 1 capital increased by $38 million or 41% from September 2011.   
     
  • Quarterly dividend of $.23 per share declared.

"This quarter's performance continues a trend of delivering both growth and strong financial returns. We continue building on the achievements of the past several years by expanding our banking franchise, while maintaining a strong focus on our traditional markets. Our team of seasoned relationship bankers is successfully delivering community banking services to customers throughout our markets. During the quarter, we achieved several significant milestones: total assets eclipsed $1.5 billion, and loans and deposits exceeded $700 million and $1.3 billion, respectively including over $400 million in demand deposits. This growth generated higher net interest income and record net income," commented Kevin M. O'Connor, president and CEO of Bridge Bancorp, Inc. 

Net Earnings and Returns

Net income for the quarter ended September 2012 was $3.4 million or $.39 per share, compared to $2.8 million or $.41 per share, for the same period in 2011. The Company's net income and earnings per share for the third quarter of 2011 included $0.1 million in acquisition costs, net of tax, associated with the May 2011 Hamptons State Bank merger.

For 2012, the increase in net income reflects growth in net interest income, lower credit costs and securities gains, partially offset by higher noninterest expenses. Earnings per share for the quarter ended September 2012 reflect the higher share count associated with the $24 million in capital raised in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The increased interest income results from higher levels of earning assets funded with core deposits. Average earning assets increased by 17% or $196.0 million during the third quarter of 2012, offsetting the decline in net interest margin from 4.04% in the third quarter of 2011 to 3.55%. Strong loan and deposit growth offset the impact of sustained historically low interest rates on new and existing rate-sensitive assets and liabilities. The provision for loan losses was $0.6 million for the quarter, $0.9 million lower than the comparable 2011 quarter. The decrease in the provision for loan losses reflects a $0.7 million decline in net charge-offs compared to September 2011.

"Like many in our industry, we are finding the current interest rate environment challenging as all aspects of banking are impacted by the Federal Reserve Board's (the "FRB") actions. We are cautiously managing the types of loans we originate and investments we make, while remaining prepared to deal with the eventuality of higher rates. Additionally, although asset quality measures remain strong, we continue to prudently assess our reserves in light of continued weakness in the overall economy," commented Mr. O'Connor.

Total noninterest income, excluding net securities gains, increased 16%, driven by title fee income and customer service fees. During this quarter, $3.1 million of securities were sold at a net gain of $0.2 million. The $0.7 million increase in noninterest expense reflects investments in new branches, technology and staff.

"Our Company's expanded scale has fueled growth in customer-related fee income and our title business benefits from both this scale and an improving local real estate market. Considering this challenging interest rate environment, we continue to judiciously assess investment portfolio strategies to maximize returns, while mitigating prepayment and repricing risks," noted Mr. O'Connor.  

Balance Sheet and Asset Quality

Total assets of $1.57 billion at quarter end were $283.0 million or 22% higher than the September 2011 level of $1.28 billion, reflecting strong organic growth. Loans increased $133.7 million or 22%, while investment securities increased $216.6 million or 39%. Growth was funded principally by deposits, which ended the second quarter at $1.31 billion, including $412.7 million of demand deposits. 

Asset quality measures improved at September 2012, as nonperforming assets ("NPAs") declined 36% to $3.9 million from $6.1 million at September 2011. Currently NPAs represent only 0.25% of total assets, compared to 0.47% at September 2011. Overall delinquency numbers also show strength, with loans past due 30-89 days amounting to only $3.1 million, or 0.42% of total loans. At September 30, 2012, the allowance for loan losses was $14.0 million, a $3.9 million increase from September 2011, and the allowance as a percentage of total loans was 1.92%, compared to 1.70% at September 30, 2011.  

Stockholders' equity grew $33.9 million to $116.3 million at September 2012 compared to $82.4 million at September 2011. The increase reflects the capital raised in the 2011 fourth quarter stock offerings, the Dividend Reinvestment Plan, as well as continued earnings growth, net of dividends. Overall, tier 1 capital increased to $129.4 million, 41% higher than the September 2011 level. The Company's capital ratios exceed all regulatory minimums and the Bank continues to be classified as well capitalized.

Challenges & Opportunities

"We continue operating in an unsettled economic environment. While recent news on employment appears positive, issues still linger regarding the recovery's strength and sustainability. Job creation remains a primary focus of the upcoming elections and the FRB's recent announcements regarding additional quantitative easing is an attempt, through monetary policy, to increase economic activity and create jobs. Locally, our economy appears stronger than other parts of New York and the nation; however, we remain cautious about the impact of the pending "fiscal cliff," general election year uncertainty, and continuing problems in Europe.

"The FRB's activities have heightened the challenges for our industry. Lower rates, while beneficial for certain segments of the economy, pose issues for others. Customers who rely on their savings to provide income have been impacted, and industrywide we are seeing the returns on our loans and investments decline. This interest rate environment will, over time, compress margins and increase pressure on industry earnings. These circumstances warrant proactive management to mitigate interest rate and credit risk, enhance efficiency and preserve overall profitability.

"Despite these issues, there are opportunities to grow our franchise. We believe continued investments to generate core funding, quality loans and new sources of revenue, remain key to continue creating long term shareholder value," 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 $1.6 billion, and a primary market area of Suffolk County, Long Island, operates 21 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.