MONTEBELLO, N.Y., March 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sterling Bancorp (NYSE:STL),  through its principal subsidiary, Sterling National Bank, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Advantage Funding Management Co., Inc. ("Advantage Funding"), a leading provider of commercial vehicle and transportation financing services based in Lake Success, NY. Advantage Funding is part of Macquarie's Corporate and Asset Finance Group ("CAF") and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Macquarie Bank Limited.

As of December 31, 2017, Advantage Funding had total outstanding loans and leases of $458 million, with a diversified client base across various industry sectors and geographic markets nationwide. Advantage Funding will be integrated into Sterling's established national equipment finance platform, which will result in a combined equipment finance portfolio with over $1 billion in total outstanding loans post-closing and aggregate net loan receivables growth of approximately $205 million in 2017.

Jack Kopnisky, President and CEO of Sterling noted, "The acquisition of Advantage Funding is consistent with our strategy of transitioning our balance sheet to a more diversified and higher-yielding commercial loan mix following our merger with Astoria, and will augment strong organic origination volumes that we anticipate in our commercial businesses in 2018. We look forward to welcoming Advantage's colleagues and customers to Sterling."

"Delivering excellent service and financing flexibility to our clients has always been our primary goal," stated Thomas X. Geisel, President, Specialty Finance and National Markets at Sterling National Bank. "This business complements and expands our specialty finance offerings, while creating further opportunities to serve the equipment financing needs of our borrowers nationally."

Sterling will acquire 100% of the stock of Advantage Funding, which will be paid 100% in cash through a combination of cash on hand, run-off of existing residential mortgage loans and sales of securities. In the quarter ended December 31, 2017, the Advantage Funding loan portfolio had a weighted average yield of approximately 7.5%. Excluding the impact of accretion income on acquired loans, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to loan yield, net interest margin and earnings per share available to common stockholders, and has an estimated internal rate of return exceeding 25%. Advantage Funding's leadership team and support staff will join Sterling National Bank; the acquisition will result in an increase of approximately $6 million in operating expenses in 2018. The transaction is expected to be completed in April 2018.

Hovde Group, LLC served as financial advisor to Sterling Bancorp. Macquarie Capital served as financial advisor and Mayer Brown LLP served as legal counsel to Macquarie Group.

About Sterling Bancorp

Sterling Bancorp, of which the principal subsidiary is Sterling National Bank, specializes in the delivery of service and solutions to business owners, their families, and consumers within the communities we serve through teams of dedicated and experienced relationship managers. Sterling National Bank offers a complete line of commercial, business, and consumer banking products and services.

About Macquarie

Macquarie Bank Limited is part of Macquarie Group Limited ("Macquarie"), a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services. Founded in 1969, Macquarie operates in more than 28 countries and employs more than 14,000 people. Assets under management totaled approximately $A483.5 billion as at December 31, 2017.

CAF engages Macquarie's balance sheet to provide tailored finance and asset management solutions. As at December 31, 2017, CAF had a $A34.6 billion asset and loan portfolio globally across a range of sectors including motor vehicles, commercial aircraft, mining equipment, technology equipment and corporate and real estate lending. 

About Advantage Funding

Advantage Funding, based in Lake Success, New York, founded in 1997, is dedicated to providing equipment financing and leasing solutions for ground transportation to support vehicle dealers, distributors, manufacturers and end users nationwide.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may concern Sterling's current expectations about its future results, plans, operations and prospects and are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, including inflation; the effects of, and changes in, trade; changes in asset quality and credit risk; introduction, withdrawal, success and timing of business initiatives; capital management activities; customer disintermediation; and the success of Sterling at managing these risks. Other factors that could cause Sterling's actual results to differ from those indicated in forward-looking statements are included in the "Risk Factors" section of Sterling's securities filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included herein are only made as of the date hereof, and Sterling specifically disclaims any obligation to update these statements in the future.
  Sterling Bancorp
  400 Rella Boulevard
  Montebello, NY 10901-4243
  T 845.369.8040
F 845.369.8255

Luis Massiani, SEVP & Chief Financial Officer  

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