TOMS RIVER, N.J., Oct. 17, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- OceanFirst Financial Corp. (Nasdaq:OCFC), (the "Company"), the holding company for OceanFirst Bank (the "Bank"), today announced that diluted earnings per share amounted to $0.29 for the quarter ended September 30, 2013, as compared to $0.28 for the corresponding prior year period. For the nine months ended September 30, 2013, diluted earnings per share amounted to $0.84, as compared to $0.89 for the corresponding prior year period. Highlights for the quarter included:
- Commercial loans outstanding increased $18.5 million, an annualized growth rate of 13.6%.
- The net interest margin stabilized at 3.20%, as compared to 3.21% in the linked quarter, largely the result of higher yielding commercial loans replacing investment securities.
- Improved credit metrics supported a decrease in the loan loss provision, as non-performing loans decreased $4.3 million.
- Tangible common equity remains strong at a ratio of 9.35%.
The Company also announced that the Board of Directors declared its sixty-seventh consecutive quarterly cash dividend on common stock. The dividend for the quarter ended September 30, 2013 of $0.12 per share will be paid on November 8, 2013, to shareholders of record on October 28, 2013.
Chairman and CEO John R. Garbarino observed "strong commercial loan growth helped to further stabilize the net interest margin, and we are encouraged by our improved credit metrics, as both non-performing loans and year-to-date net charge-offs decreased. Strategically, we continue to build our team of proven income producers in several areas, enhancing our prospects for future revenue growth. In the coming quarter we are also consolidating two branch offices and re-structuring our FHLB advance book to help these revenue gains translate into sustainable earnings improvement."Results of Operations Net income for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2013 was $5.0 million and $14.4 million, respectively, or $0.29 per diluted share and $0.84 per diluted share, respectively, as compared to net income of $5.0 million and $16.0 million, respectively, or $0.28 per diluted share and $0.89 per diluted share for the corresponding prior year periods. Net income for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 was adversely impacted by a non-recurring expense relating to the departure of the Bank's former President and Chief Operating Officer of $747,000, net of related expense savings, or $468,000 net of tax benefit. Net income was impacted in the current year periods by lower net interest income and lower other income, partly offset by a reduction in the provision for loan losses as compared to the prior year periods.
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