Ask the folks at OceanFirst Bank for a home loan and they might say "shore." The subsidiary of holding company OceanFirst Financial operates more than 20 branches in the coastal New Jersey counties of Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean. The community-oriented bank caters to individuals and small to midsized businesses in the Jersey Shore area, offering standard products such as checking and savings accounts, CDs, and IRAs. It uses funds from deposits mainly to invest in mortgages, loans, and securities. One- to four-family residential mortgages make up more than half of OceanFirst Financial's loan portfolio, which also includes commercial real estate (about 30%), business, construction, and consumer loans.
Part of the company's strategy for growth includes expanding its fee-based offerings. The bank, for example, offers trust and asset management services. Company subsidiary OceanFirst Services sells mutual funds, annuities, and insurance products from third-party vendors. Additionally, the bank is focused on increasing the amount of commercial loans in its portfolio. OceanFirst is also seeking opportunities to grow by opening new branch locations within its existing markets; it opened its 24th branch in late 2011.
Although revenues shrunk 5% to $110.7 million as a result of weakened demand for loans, the company saw 2% growth in profits, earning $20.7 million. The company's provision for loan losses went down that year, despite an increase in nonperforming loans (primarily related to real estate).
OceanFirst Bank's employee stock option plan owns more than 10% of OceanFirst Financial's shares. The company's charitable foundation, OceanFirst Foundation, owns 7%. – less