"We did an IPO last year and raised $2.2 billion," said CEO Kevin Cummings. "We have the capital to expand, and we're very much involved in M&A. Every bank that's for sale, the investment bankers are calling us."
That hunger for acquisition is nothing new: Investors Bancorp has purchased eight community banks since 2008, acquiring $4.5 billion in new deposits. Cummings said that will remain a big part of its growth plans for the future, but noted that he isn't interested in expanding too far beyond the bank's New Jersey base.
"We would look at Philadelphia, Easton, [Pa.], Long Island, and possibly Westchester County," he said.
Cummings credited the bank's record earnings to growth in its commercial loans portfolio, which now tops $10 billion.
"The economy is firming up, the opportunities are there, we've expanded our geography into South Jersey and also into Manhattan and the five boroughs," he said. "And these opportunities are very strong. People are looking to expand, and things are looking good in the commercial lending sector."
Investors Bancorp is continuing to open new branches, even as larger financial institutions scale back on their bricks-and-mortar footprints. "We're creating our brand. The larger banks are managing the cost line," explained Cummings. 'We need to expand revenues and we've been doing a great job. We had 14% deposit growth in the last six months."
In terms of its residential mortgage business, Cummings said the housing market is firming up, and the purchase market is moving, while the refinancing market is slowing down. "I think the first-time homebuyer, because of the rising rents in the multi-family sector, is starting to come and look and new home buying," added Cummings.
Looking ahead to the next twelve months, Cummings said one of his main concerns was interest rates. "It all depends on the yield curve," he said. "A flat yield curve would be painful to a bank like us, that has a large residential portfolio. A steepening yield curve is very helpful to our net interest income."