ISELIN, N.J., April 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Provident Financial Services, Inc. (NYSE:PFS) (the "Company") reported net income of $17.0 million, or $0.30 per basic and diluted share for the three months ended March 31, 2014, compared to net income of $17.8 million, or $0.31 per basic and diluted share for the three months ended March 31, 2013. Continued improvement in asset quality and the related reduction in the provision for loan losses coupled with growth in average loans outstanding and an improvement in securities yields have been the key contributors to earnings for the first quarter of 2014. Partially offsetting these items, commercial prepayment fees have declined and certain operating costs have increased, a portion of which were due to unusually high seasonal expenses resulting from the severe winter weather. Christopher Martin, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased with our strong start to 2014, as loans grew at the best pace for a first quarter in several years and our net interest margin stabilized. Not surprisingly, earnings were impacted by costs associated with the difficult winter in the region. Although our loan pipeline remains robust, volume was constrained somewhat by our unwillingness to meet the aggressive pricing offered by certain competitors. We will remain true to our conservative credit standards and continue to carefully manage our interest rate risk position." Declaration of Quarterly Dividend The Company's Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per common share payable on May 30, 2014, to stockholders of record as of the close of business on May 15, 2014. Balance Sheet Summary Total assets increased $13.5 million to $7.50 billion at March 31, 2014, from $7.49 billion at December 31, 2013, primarily due to an increase in total loans, partially offset by decreases in total investments and cash and cash equivalents.