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Section 1: 424B5 (424B5)

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
 Filed Pursuant to Rule 424(b)(5)
 File No. 333-223495​
The information in this preliminary prospectus supplement is not complete and may be changed. A registration statement relating to these securities has become effective by rule of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This preliminary prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are not an offer to sell these securities, and we are not soliciting offers to buy these securities, in any state or other jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.
SUBJECT TO COMPLETION
PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT DATED DECEMBER 11, 2019
PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT
(To prospectus dated March 7, 2018)
$     
[MISSING IMAGE: 401551931_lg_sterlingbancorp-pms.jpg]
% Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029
We are offering $     aggregate principal amount of         % fixed-to-floating rate subordinated notes due 2029 (the “Notes”) pursuant to this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. The Notes will be offered in minimum denominations of  $1,000 and integral multiples of  $1,000 in excess thereof. The Notes will mature on            , 2029 (the “Maturity Date”). From and including the date of original issuance to, but excluding,           , 2024 or the date of earlier redemption (the “fixed rate period”), the Notes will bear interest at an initial rate of        % per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears on        and        of each year, commencing on                 , 2020. The last interest payment date for the fixed rate period will be      , 2024. From and including           , 2024 to, but excluding, the Maturity Date or the date of earlier redemption (the “floating rate period”), the Notes will bear interest at a floating rate per annum equal to the Benchmark rate (which is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR), each as defined and subject to the provisions described under “Description of the Notes — Interest” in this prospectus supplement, plus           basis points, payable quarterly in arrears on           ,                 ,            and           of each year, commencing on           , 2025. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in the event that the Benchmark rate is less than zero, the Benchmark rate shall be deemed to be zero.
We may, at our option, beginning with the interest payment date of                 , 2024 and on any interest payment date thereafter, redeem the Notes, in whole or in part. The Notes will not otherwise be redeemable by us prior to maturity, unless certain events occur, as described under “Description of the Notes — Redemption” in this prospectus supplement. The redemption price for any redemption is 100% of the principal amount of the Notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of redemption. Any early redemption of the Notes will be subject to the receipt of the approval of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the “Federal Reserve”) to the extent then required under applicable laws or regulations, including capital regulations.
The Notes will be unsecured subordinated obligations, will rank pari passu, or equally, with all of our future unsecured subordinated debt and will be junior to all of our existing and future senior debt. The Notes will be structurally subordinated to all existing and future liabilities of our subsidiaries and will be effectively subordinated to our existing and future secured indebtedness. There will be no sinking fund for the Notes. The Notes will be obligations of Sterling Bancorp only and will not be obligations of, and will not be guaranteed by, any of Sterling Bancorp’s subsidiaries. For a more detailed description of the Notes, see “Description of the Notes.”
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for the Notes. The Notes will not be listed on any securities exchange or included in any automated quotation system.
The Notes are not deposits and are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency. The Notes are ineligible as collateral for a loan or extension of credit from Sterling Bancorp or any of its subsidiaries. None of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), the FDIC, the Federal Reserve, any other bank regulatory agency or any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of the Notes or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
Investing in the Notes involves risks. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-12 of this prospectus supplement and those risk factors in the documents incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus.
Per Note
Total
Public offering price(1)
    % $     
Underwriting discount(2)
    % $     
Proceeds, before expenses, to us
    % $     
(1)
Plus accrued interest, if any, from the original issue date.
(2)
See “Underwriting” in this prospectus supplement for details.
The underwriters expect to deliver the Notes to purchasers in book-entry form through the facilities of The Depository Trust Company, against payment on or about            , 2019. See “Underwriting” in this prospectus supplement for details.
Joint Book-Running Managers
SANDLER O’NEILL + PARTNERS, L.P.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods
US Bancorp​
A Stifel Company​
The date of this prospectus supplement is            , 2019.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Prospectus Supplement
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ABOUT THIS PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT
Unless the context indicates otherwise, the terms “Sterling,” “Company,” “we,” “our” and “us” in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus refer to Sterling Bancorp and its subsidiaries. References to the “Bank” mean Sterling National Bank. References to a particular year mean our fiscal year commencing on January 1 and ending on December 31 of that year.
This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus incorporate by reference important business and financial information about us that is not included in or delivered with this document. This information, other than exhibits to documents that are not specifically incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus, is available to you without charge upon written or oral request to Sterling at the address or telephone number indicated in the section entitled “Where You Can Find More Information” in this prospectus supplement.
This document contains two parts. The first part is this prospectus supplement, which contains specific information about us and the terms on which we are selling the Notes and adds to and updates information contained in the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference herein. The second part is the accompanying prospectus dated March 7, 2018, which contains and incorporates by reference a more general description of the securities we may offer from time to time, some of which does not apply to the Notes we are offering, and important business and financial information about us. If information contained in this prospectus supplement differs or varies from the information contained in the accompanying prospectus, you should rely on the information set forth in this prospectus supplement.
You should rely only on the information contained or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus or in any free writing prospectus used in connection with this offering. We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized anyone to provide you with different information. If anyone provides you with different or inconsistent information, you should not rely on it. We are not, and the underwriters are not, making an offer to sell the Notes in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus, any free writing prospectus relating to this prospectus supplement provided or approved by us and the documents incorporated by reference in either this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus is accurate only as of the respective dates of those documents. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since those dates.
Before you invest in the Notes, you should carefully read the registration statement (including the exhibits thereto) of which this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus form a part, this prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus and the documents incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. The incorporated documents are described under “Where You Can Find More Information.”
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WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”). Our reports filed electronically with the SEC are available to the public over the Internet at the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov.
We make available free of charge most of our SEC filings on the investor relations page of our website at http://www.sterlingbancorp.com/ as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file these materials with the SEC. You may access these SEC filings on our website. Except for those SEC filings incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus, none of the other information on our website is part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus or incorporated by reference herein or therein. You may request a copy of these filings, other than an exhibit to a filing (unless that exhibit is specifically incorporated by reference into that filing), at no cost, by writing to us at the following address or calling us at the following telephone number:
Sterling Bancorp
400 Rella Boulevard
Montebello, New York 10901
Attention: Investor Relations
(845) 369-8040
The SEC allows us to “incorporate by reference” much of the information that we file with it, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those publicly available documents. The information that we incorporate by reference is an important part of this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Any statement contained in a document incorporated or deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus will be deemed to be modified or superseded for purposes of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus to the extent that a statement contained in this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus or any other subsequently filed document that is deemed to be incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus modifies or supersedes the statement. Any statement so modified or superseded will not be deemed, except as so modified or superseded, to constitute a part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.
This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus incorporate by reference the documents listed below and all documents we subsequently file with the SEC pursuant to Sections 13(a), 13(c), 14, or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, which we refer to as the Exchange Act, prior to the termination of the offering of the securities described in this prospectus supplement; provided, however, that we are not incorporating by reference any documents, portions of documents or other information deemed to have been “furnished” and not “filed” with the SEC:

our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018, filed with the SEC on March 1, 2019;

our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, 2019, June 30, 2019 and September 30, 2019, filed with the SEC on May 3, 2019, August 2, 2019 and November 1, 2019;

our Current Reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on January 2, 2019, February 12, 2019, April 5, 2019, May 30, 2019 and December 11, 2019;

the audited consolidated financial statements of Astoria Financial Corporation as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 and for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014 included in Astoria Financial Corporation’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC on February 28, 2017;

the unaudited financial statements of Astoria Financial Corporation as of and for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2017 included in our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on March 7, 2018; and

those portions of our Definitive Proxy Statement on Schedule 14A filed with the SEC on April 17, 2019, as supplemented on May 10, 2019, and incorporated by reference in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018.
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You should rely only on the information incorporated by reference or provided in this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus. We have not, and the underwriters have not, authorized anyone else to provide you with different information or to make any representations other than as contained in this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus.
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SPECIAL NOTE CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This prospectus supplement, the accompanying prospectus, the documents incorporated by reference or deemed incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus and any other written or oral statements made by us from time to time may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Forward-looking statements are typically identified by words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “outlook,” “target,” “estimate,” “forecast,” “project,” by future conditional verbs such as “will,” “should,” “would,” “could” or “may,” or by variations of such words or by similar expressions. These statements are not historical facts, but instead represent our current expectations, plans or forecasts and are based on the beliefs and assumptions of management and the information available to management at the time that these disclosures were prepared. Forward-looking statements are subject to numerous assumptions, risks (both known and unknown) and uncertainties, and other factors which change over time. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. We do not assume any duty and do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements. Because forward-looking statements are subject to assumptions, risks, uncertainties, and other factors, actual results or future events could differ, possibly materially, from those that we anticipated in our forward-looking statements, and future results could differ materially from our historical performance. The factors described in “Risk Factors” in this prospectus supplement, in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and in any of our subsequent SEC filings provide examples of risks, uncertainties and events that may cause our actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in our forward-looking statements, including:

our ability to successfully implement growth and strategic initiatives, and to integrate and fully realize cost savings and other benefits we estimate in connection with acquisitions and limit business disruption arising therefrom;

oversight of the Sterling National Bank by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau;

adverse publicity, regulatory actions or litigation with respect to us or other well-known companies and the financial services industry in general and a failure to satisfy regulatory standards;

the effects of and changes in monetary and policies of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the U.S. Government, respectively;

our ability to make accurate assumptions and judgments about an appropriate level of allowance for loan losses and the collectability of our loan portfolio, including changes in the level and trend of loan delinquencies and write-offs that may lead to increased losses and non-performing assets in our loan portfolio, result in our allowance for loan losses not being adequate to cover actual losses, and/or require us to materially increase our reserves;

our use of estimates in determining the fair value of certain of our assets, which estimates may prove to be incorrect and result in significant declines in valuation;

our ability to manage changes in market interest rates, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations;

our ability to capitalize on our substantial investments in our information technology and operational infrastructure and systems;

changes in other economic, competitive, governmental, regulatory and technological factors affecting our markets, operations, pricing, products, services and fees; and

our success at managing the risks involved in the foregoing and managing our business.
There can be no assurances that future actual results will correspond to these forward-looking statements. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statement made by us or on our behalf. Any such statement speaks only as of the date the statement was made or as of such date that may be referenced within the statement. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect the impact of circumstances or events after such date.
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PROSPECTUS SUPPLEMENT SUMMARY
This summary highlights selected information from this prospectus supplement and does not contain all of the information that you should consider in making your investment decision. You should read this summary together with the more detailed information appearing elsewhere in this prospectus supplement, as well as the information in the accompanying prospectus and in the documents incorporated by reference or deemed incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. You should carefully consider, among other things, the matters discussed in the sections titled “Risk Factors” in this prospectus supplement, our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2019. In addition, certain statements include forward-looking information that involves risks and uncertainties. See “Special Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements” in this prospectus supplement.
Sterling Bancorp
Sterling Bancorp, a Delaware corporation, bank holding company and financial holding company founded in 1998, owns all of the outstanding shares of common stock of its principal subsidiary, Sterling National Bank. Sterling National Bank is a full-service regional bank that specializes in the delivery of services and solutions to business owners, their families and consumers within the communities we serve through teams of dedicated and experienced relationship managers. The Bank offers a complete line of commercial, business, and consumer banking products and services. The Bank has a number of wholly-owned subsidiaries, including a company that originates loans to municipalities and governmental entities and acquires securities issued by state and local governments, a real estate investment trust that holds real estate mortgage loans, several subsidiaries that hold foreclosed properties acquired by the Bank, and other subsidiaries that have an immaterial impact on our financial condition or results of operations.
As of September 30, 2019, we had total assets of approximately $30.1 billion, total portfolio loans, net of approximately $20.7 billion, total deposits of approximately $21.6 billion, and total stockholders’ equity of approximately $4.5 billion.
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “STL.” Sterling’s principal executive office is located at 400 Rella Boulevard, Montebello, New York City, New York 10901, and our telephone number is (845) 369-8040.
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THE OFFERING
The following summary highlights selected information from this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus about the Notes and this offering. This description is not complete and does not contain all of the information that you should consider before investing in the Notes. You should read this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, as well as the documents incorporated by reference or deemed to be incorporated by reference herein and therein, carefully before making a decision about whether to invest in the Notes. For a more complete understanding of the Notes, you should read “Description of the Notes.”
Issuer
Sterling Bancorp, a Delaware corporation
Notes Offered
    % Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029
Aggregate Principal Amount
$
Issue Price
    %
Maturity Date
The Notes will mature on           , 2029.
Interest
Fixed rate period:   A fixed rate per annum of    %.
Floating rate period:   A floating per annum rate equal to the Benchmark rate (which is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR) plus        basis points for each quarterly interest period during the floating rate period; provided, however, that in the event the Benchmark rate is less than zero, the Benchmark rate shall be deemed to be zero.
For each interest period during the floating rate period, “Three-Month Term SOFR” means the rate for Term SOFR for a tenor of three months that is published by the Term SOFR Administrator at the Reference Time for any interest period, as determined by the calculation agent after giving effect to the Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions (each as defined under “Description of the Notes”).
If the calculation agent determines on or prior to the relevant Reference Time that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date (each as defined under “Description of the Notes”) have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR, then the provisions under “Description of the Notes  —  Effect of Benchmark Transition Event,” which are referred to herein as the benchmark transition provisions, will thereafter apply to all determinations of the interest rate on the Notes for each interest period during the floating rate period. In accordance with the benchmark transition provisions, after a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred, the interest rate on the Notes for each interest period during the floating rate period will be an annual rate equal to the Benchmark Replacement (as defined under Description of the Notes) plus        basis points.
We will act as the initial calculation agent.
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Interest Payment Dates
Fixed rate period:               and             of each year, commencing on            , 2020. The last interest payment date for the fixed rate period will be            , 2024.
Floating rate period:         ,      ,         and          of each year, commencing on            , 2025.
Record Dates
Interest on each Note will be payable to the person in whose name such Note is registered on the 15th day immediately preceding the applicable interest payment date.
Day Count Convention
Fixed rate period:   360-day year consisting of twelve 30-day months.
Floating rate period:   360-day year and the actual number of days elapsed.
No Guarantee
The Notes will not be guaranteed by any of our subsidiaries. As a result, the Notes will be structurally subordinated to the liabilities of our subsidiaries as discussed below under “Ranking; Subordination.”
Ranking; Subordination
The Notes offered by this prospectus supplement will be issued by us under a Subordinated Debt Indenture between Sterling Bancorp and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee (the “Trustee”), to be dated as of the issue date (the “Base Indenture”), as supplemented by a First Supplemental Indenture between Sterling Bancorp and the Trustee, to be dated as of the issue date (the “First Supplemental Indenture”). We refer to the Base Indenture, as supplemented by the First Supplemental Indenture, as the “Indenture.” The Notes will be our unsecured, subordinated obligations and:

will rank junior in right of payment and upon our liquidation to any of our existing and all future Senior Indebtedness (as defined in the Indenture), all as described under “Description of the Notes”;

will rank junior in right of payment and upon our liquidation to any of our future general creditors;

will rank equal in right of payment and upon our liquidation with all of our future indebtedness the terms of which provide that such indebtedness ranks equally with promissory notes, bonds, debentures and other evidences of indebtedness of types that include the Notes;

will rank senior in right of payment and upon our liquidation to any of our future indebtedness the terms of which provide that such indebtedness ranks junior in right of payment to promissory notes, bonds, debentures and other evidences of indebtedness of types that include the Notes; and

will be structurally subordinated to our existing and future indebtedness, deposits and other liabilities of the Company’s current and future subsidiaries,
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including without limitation, Sterling National Bank’s liabilities to depositors in connection with the deposits and subordinated debt issued by Sterling National Bank, as well as liabilities to general creditors and liabilities arising in the ordinary course of business or otherwise.
As of September 30, 2019, on a consolidated basis, our liabilities totaled approximately $25.6 billion, which includes approximately $173.7 million of senior notes issued by Sterling that would rank senior to the Notes, $173.1 million of subordinated notes issued by Sterling National Bank that would be structurally senior to the Notes and $25.3 billion of liabilities of our subsidiaries that would be structurally senior to the Notes.
The Indenture does not limit the amount of additional indebtedness we or our subsidiaries may incur.
Form and Denomination
The Notes will be offered in book-entry form only through the facilities of The Depository Trust Company (with its successors, “DTC”) in minimum denominations of  $1,000 and integral multiples of  $1,000 in excess thereof.
Optional Redemption
We may, at our option, beginning with the interest payment date of             , 2024, and on any interest payment date thereafter, redeem the Notes, in whole or in part, from time to time, subject to obtaining the prior approval of the Federal Reserve to the extent such approval is then required under the rules of the Federal Reserve, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes being redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the date of redemption.
Special Redemption
We may also redeem the Notes at any time prior to their maturity, including prior to            , 2024, in whole, but not in part, subject to obtaining the prior approval of the Federal Reserve to the extent such approval is then required under the rules of the Federal Reserve, if: (i) we receive an opinion of independent tax counsel to the effect that as a result of an amendment or change (including any announced prospective amendment or change) in law occurs, or an administrative or judicial action is announced or taken or there is an amendment to or change in any official position with respect to, or interpretation of, an administrative or judicial action or a law or regulation that differs from the previously generally accepted position or interpretation, in each case that, as a result of which, there is more than an insubstantial risk that interest payable by us on the Notes is not, or within 90 days of the date of such opinion, will not be deductible by us, in whole or in part, for U.S. federal income tax purposes; (ii) a subsequent event occurs that, as a result of which, there is more than an insubstantial risk that we would not be entitled to treat the Notes as Tier 2 capital for regulatory capital purposes; or (iii) we are required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as
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amended; in each case, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes plus any accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the redemption date. For more information, see “Description of the Notes — Redemption.”
Sinking Fund
There is no sinking fund for the Notes.
Future Issuances
The Notes will initially be limited to an aggregate principal amount of  $      . We may, from time to time, without notice to or consent of the holders of the Notes, increase the aggregate principal amount of the Notes outstanding by issuing additional Notes in the future with the same terms as the Notes, except for the issue date, the offering price and the first interest payment date, and such additional notes may be consolidated with the Notes issued in this offering and form a single series; provided that if any such additional notes are not fungible with the Notes for U.S. federal income tax purposes, such additional notes will have a separate CUSIP or other identifying number.
Use of Proceeds
We estimate that the net proceeds from this offering will be approximately $      , after deducting the underwriting discount and our estimated offering expenses. We intend to use the net proceeds of this offering for general corporate purposes and to repay certain outstanding indebtedness. See “Use of Proceeds.”
Listing
The Notes will not be listed on any securities exchange or quoted on any quotation system. Currently, there is no market for the Notes, and there is no assurance that any public market for the Notes will develop.
U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations
For a discussion of material U.S. federal income tax considerations of purchasing, owning and disposing of the Notes, see “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations.”
Governing Law
The Notes and the Indenture will be governed by the laws of the State of New York.
Trustee
U.S. Bank National Association
Risk Factors
Investing in the Notes involves risks. Potential investors are urged to read and consider the risk factors relating to an investment in the Notes set forth under “Risk Factors” beginning on page S-12 of this prospectus supplement, as well as the risk factors and other information included or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus, for a discussion of factors that you should carefully consider before deciding whether to invest in the Notes.
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SUMMARY SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The summary selected consolidated financial data of Sterling presented below as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 are derived from Sterling’s audited historical financial statements included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. The summary selected consolidated financial data presented below as of December 31, 2016 are derived from Sterling’s audited consolidated financial statements, which are not included or incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus. The summary selected consolidated financial data presented below as of and for the nine-months ended September 30, 2019 and 2018 are derived from Sterling’s unaudited interim consolidated financial statements included in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended September 30, 2019.
This information is only a summary and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto and related “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Conditions and Results of Operations” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the three months ended September 30, 2019, each of which is incorporated by reference herein. The historical results presented below or included elsewhere or incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are not necessarily indicative of the future performance of Sterling.
(dollars in thousands, except
per share data and ratios)
Nine Months Ended
September 30,
(unaudited)
Years Ended December 31,
2019
2018
2018
2017
2016
Selected Balance Data (at end of period):
Total securities
$ 5,047,011 $ 6,685,972 $ 6,667,180 $ 6,474,561 $ 3,118,838
Portfolio loans
20,830,163 20,533,214 19,218,530 20,008,983 9,527,230
Total assets
30,077,665 31,261,265 31,383,307 30,359,541 14,178,447
Non-interest bearing deposits
4,586,632 4,651,369 4,241,923 4,080,742 3,239,332
Interest bearing deposits
16,992,692 16,804,688 16,972,225 16,457,462 6,828,927
Total deposits
21,579,324 21,456,057 21,214,148 20,538,204 10,068,259
Borrowings
3,174,224 4,825,855 5,214,183 4,991,210 2,056,612
Stockholders’ equity
4,520,967 4,438,303 4,428,853 4,240,178 1,855,183
Tangible equity(1)
2,610,205 2,554,495 2,547,852 2,367,876 1,092,230
Selected Operating Data:
Total interest income
$ 907,066 $ 895,276 $ 1,208,473 $ 682,449 $ 461,551
Total interest expense
216,400 170,743 241,070 106,306 57,282
Net interest income
690,666 724,533 967,403 576,143 404,269
Provision for loan losses
35,400 35,500 46,000 26,000 20,000
Net interest income after provision for loan losses
655,266 689,033 921,403 550,143 384,269
Total non-interest income
98,485 80,720 103,197 64,202 70,987
Total non-interest expense
348,387 348,448 458,370 433,375 247,902
Income before income taxes
405,364 421,305 566,230 180,970 207,354
Income tax expense
85,020 88,542 118,976 87,939 67,382
Net income
320,344 332,763 447,254 93,031 139,972
Preferred stock dividends
5,958 5,988 7,978 2,002
Net income available to common stockholders
$ 314,386 $ 326,775 $ 439,276 $ 91,029 $ 139,972
Per Common Share Data:
Basic earnings per share
$ 1.51 $ 1.45 $ 1.96 $ 0.58 $ 1.07
Diluted earnings per share
1.51 1.45 1.95 0.58 1.07
Adjusted diluted earnings per share, non-GAAP(1)
1.53 1.48 2.00 1.40 1.11
Dividends declared per share
0.21 0.21 0.28 0.28 0.28
Dividend Payout Ratio
13.91% 14.48% 14.30% 48.28% 26.17%
Book value per share
$ 21.66 $ 19.07 $ 19.84 $ 18.24 $ 13.72
Tangible book value per share(1)
12.90 11.33 11.78 10.53 8.08
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(dollars in thousands, except
per share data and ratios)
Nine Months Ended
September 30,
(unaudited)
Years Ended December 31,
2019
2018
2018
2017
2016
Common Shares Outstanding:
Shares outstanding at period end
202,392,884 225,446,089 216,227,852 224,782,694 135,257,570
Weighted average shares basic
207,685,051 224,969,121 224,299,488 157,513,639 130,607,994
Weighted average shares diluted
208,108,575 225,504,463 224,816,996 158,124,270 131,234,462
Other Data:
FTE period end
1,689 1,959 1,907 2,076 970
Financial centers period end
87 113 106 128 42
Performance Ratios:
Return on average assets
1.40% 1.42% 1.43% 0.49% 1.09%
Return on average equity
9.46 10.12 10.11 3.64 8.05
Reported return on average tangible assets(1)
1.49 1.51 1.51 0.52 1.15
Adjusted return on average tangible assets(1)
1.50 1.54 1.55 1.27 1.20
Reported return on average tangible common
equity(1)
16.59 17.98 17.87 6.22 14.34
Adjusted return on average tangible common
equity(1)
16.78 18.33 18.29 15.17 14.90
Operating efficiency ratio, as reported(1)
44.1 43.3 42.8 67.7 52.2
Operating efficiency ratio, as adjusted(1)
40.2 39.1 38.8 41.8 46.2
Net interest margin – GAAP(2)
3.46 3.53 3.51 3.44 3.44
Net interest margin – tax equivalent basis(2)
3.51 3.59 3.57 3.55 3.55
Capital Ratios (Company):(3)
Common equity tier 1 risk-based ratio
11.73% 12.95% 12.28% 12.37% 10.73%
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio
12.35 13.61 12.93 13.07 10.73
Total risk-based capital ratio
13.49 14.72 14.03 14.18 12.73
Tier 1 leverage ratio
9.78 9.68 9.50 9.39 8.95
Tangible equity to tangible assets
9.71 9.12 9.06 8.76 8.14
Tangible common equity to tangible assets
9.22 8.65 8.60 8.27 8.14
Regulatory Capital Ratios (Bank):
Common equity tier 1 risk-based ratio
12.73% 14.20% 13.55% 13.95% 10.87%
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio
12.73 14.20 13.55 13.95 10.87
Total risk-based capital ratio
13.99 15.47 14.80 15.21 13.06
Tier 1 leverage ratio
10.08 10.10 9.94 10.10 9.08
Asset Quality Data and Ratios:
Allowance for loan losses
$ 104,735 $ 91,365 $ 95,677 $ 77,907 $ 63,622
Non-performing loans (“NPLs”)
190,966 185,222 168,822 187,213 78,853
Non-performing assets (“NPAs”)
203,972 207,957 188,199 214,308 92,472
Net charge-offs
26,342 22,042 28,230 11,715 6,523
NPAs to total assets
0.68% 0.67% 0.60% 0.71% 0.65%
NPLs to total loans(3)
0.92 0.90 0.88 0.94 0.83
Allowance for loan losses to non-performing loans
54.84 49.33 56.67 41.61 80.68
Allowance for loan losses to total loans(3)
0.50 0.44 0.50 0.39 0.67
Net charge-offs to average loans
0.17 0.15 0.14 0.10 0.08
(1)
See a reconciliation of as reported financial measures to as adjusted (non-GAAP) financial measures below under the caption “Non-GAAP Financial Measures/Ratios.”
(2)
Net interest margin is net interest income directly from our consolidated income statements as a percentage of average interest-earning assets for the period. Net interest margin tax equivalent basis is net interest income adjusted for the portion of our net interest income that will be exempt from taxation (e.g., was received as a result of holdings of state or municipal obligations). An amount equal to the tax benefit derived from that component is added back to the net interest income total. This adjustment is considered helpful in comparing one financial institution’s net interest income (pre-tax) to that of another institution, as each will have a different proportion of tax-exempt items in their portfolios.
(3)
Total loans excludes loans held for sale.
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Non-GAAP Financial Measures/Ratios
The accounting and reporting policies of Sterling conform to generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) in the United States and prevailing practices in the banking industry. However, certain non-GAAP performance measures and ratios are used by management to evaluate and measure our performance. Management believes that these measures and ratios provide users of our financial information a more meaningful view of the performance of our interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities and of the Company’s operating efficiency. Other financial holding companies may define or calculate these measures and ratios differently.
The following table presents a reconciliation of the non-GAAP performance measures and ratios referenced herein to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures for each of the last three years ended December 31, 2018 and the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and September 30, 2018:
Nine Months Ended
September 30,
(unaudited)
Years Ended December 31,
2019
2018
2018
2017
2016
The following table shows the reconciliation of stockholders’ equity to tangible common equity (non-GAAP) and the tangible common equity ratio (non-GAAP)(1):
Total assets
$ 30,077,665 $ 31,261,265 $ 31,383,307 $ 30,359,541 $ 14,178,447
Goodwill and other intangibles
(1,772,963) (1,745,181) (1,742,578) (1,733,082) (762,953)
Tangible assets
28,304,702 29,516,084 29,640,729 28,626,459 13,415,494
Stockholders’ equity
4,520,967 4,438,303 4,428,853 4,240,178 1,855,183
Preferred stock
(137,799) (138,627) (138,423) (139,220)
Goodwill and other intangibles
(1,772,963) (1,745,181) (1,742,578) (1,733,082) (762,953)
Tangible common stockholders’ equity
2,610,205 2,554,495 2,547,852 2,367,876 1,092,230
Common stock outstanding at period
end
202,392,884 225,446,089 216,227,852 224,782,694 135,257,570
Common stockholders’ equity as a %
of total assets
14.57% 13.75% 13.67% 13.51% 13.08%
Book value per common share
$ 21.66 $ 19.07 $ 19.84 $ 18.24 $ 13.72
Tangible common equity as a % of tangible assets
9.22% 8.65% 8.60% 8.27% 8.14%
Tangible book value per common share
$ 12.90 $ 11.33 $ 11.78 $ 10.53 $ 8.08
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Nine Months Ended
September 30,
(unaudited)
Years Ended December 31,
2019
2018
2018
2017
2016
The following table shows the reconciliation of reported net income (GAAP) and earnings per share to adjusted net income available to common stockholders (non-GAAP) and adjusted diluted earnings per share (non-GAAP)(2):
Income before income tax expense
$ 405,364 $ 421,305 $ 566,230 $ 180,970 $ 207,354
Income tax expense
85,020 88,542 118,976 87,939 67,382
Net income (GAAP)
320,344 332,763 447,254 93,031 139,972
Adjustments:
Net loss (gain) on sale of securities
6,830 5,902 10,788 344 (7,522)
Net (gain) loss on sale of fixed assets
(11,800) (11,800) 1
(Gain) on termination of pension plan
(12,097)
Impairment related to financial centers and real estate consolidation strategy
14,398
Net (gain) on sale of residential mortgage loans
(8,313)
(Gain) on sale of trust division
(2,255)
(Gain) loss on extinguishment of debt
(46) (172) 9,729
Merger-related expense
39,232 265
Charge for asset write-downs, systems integration, retention and severance
3,344 13,132 13,132 105,110 4,485
Charge on benefit plan settlement
Amortization of non-compete agreements and acquired customer list intangibles
641 883 1,177 1,411 3,514
Total pre-tax adjustments
4,757 8,117 13,125 146,098 8,216
Adjusted pre-tax income
410,121 429,422 579,355 327,068 215,570
Adjusted income tax expense
86,125 90,179 121,732 103,027 70,052
Adjusted net income (non-GAAP)
323,996 339,243 457,623 224,041 145,518
Preferred stock dividend
5,958 5,988 7,978 2,002
Adjusted net income available to common stockholders (non-GAAP)
$ 318,038 $ 333,255 $ 449,645 $ 222,039 $ 145,518
Weighted average diluted shares
208,108,575 225,504,463 224,816,996 158,124,270 131,234,462
Diluted EPS (GAAP)
$ 1.51 $ 1.45 $ 1.95 $ 0.58 $ 1.07
Adjusted diluted EPS (non-GAAP)
1.53 1.48 2.00 1.40 1.11
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Nine Months Ended
September 30,
(unaudited)
Years Ended December 31,
2019
2018
2018
2017
2016
The following table shows the reconciliation of reported return on average tangible common equity and adjusted return on average tangible common equity (non-GAAP)(3):
Average stockholders’ equity
$ 4,443,112 $ 4,316,455 $ 4,344,096 $ 2,498,512 $ 1,739,073
Average preferred stock
(138,111) (139,054) (138,829) (35,122)
Average goodwill and other intangibles
(1,771,242) (1,747,141) (1,746,687) (999,333) (762,679)
Average tangible common stockholders’ equity
2,533,759 2,430,260 2,458,580 1,464,057 976,394
Net income available to common
stockholders
314,386 326,775 439,276 91,029 139,972
Net income available to common stockholders,
if annualized
420,333 436,897 439,276 91,029 139,972
Reported return on average tangible common equity
16.59% 17.98% 17.87% 6.22% 14.34%
Adjusted net income available to common stockholders
$ 318,038 $ 333,255 $ 449,645 $ 222,039 $ 145,518
Annualized adjusted net income available to common stockholders
425,215 445,561 449,645 222,039 145,518
Adjusted return on average tangible common equity
16.78% 18.33% 18.29% 15.17% 14.90%
Nine Months Ended
September 30,
(unaudited)
Years Ended December 31,
2019
2018
2018
2017
2016
The following table shows the reconciliation of the reported operating efficiency ratio and adjusted operating efficiency ratio (non-GAAP)(4):
Net interest income
$ 690,666 $ 724,533 $ 967,403 $ 576,143 $ 404,269
Non-interest income
98,485 80,720 103,197 64,202 70,987
Total net revenue
789,151 805,253 1,070,600 640,345 475,256
Tax equivalent adjustment on securities
11,369 12,217 16,231 20,054 12,745
Net (gain) loss on sale of securities
6,830 5,902 10,788 344 (7,522)
Net (gain) loss on sale of fixed assets
(11,800) (11,800) 1
(Gain) on termination of pension plan
(12,097)
Net (gain) on sale of residential mortgage loans
(8,313)
(Gain) on sale of trust division
(2,255)
Other (other gains and fair value loss on interest rate caps)
Adjusted total net revenue
786,940 811,572 1,085,819 660,744 478,224
Non-interest expense
348,387 348,448 458,370 433,375 247,902
Merger-related expense
(39,232) (265)
Impairment related to financial centers and real estate consolidation strategy
(14,398)
Charge for asset write-downs, systems integration, retention and severance
(3,344) (13,132) (13,132) (105,110) (4,485)
Gain (loss) on extinguishment of debt
46 172 (9,729)
Charge on benefit plan settlement
Amortization of intangible assets
(14,396) (17,782) (23,646) (13,008) (12,416)
Adjusted non-interest expense
$ 316,295 $ 317,535 $ 421,764 $ 276,025 $ 221,007
Reported operating efficiency ratio
44.1% 43.3% 42.8% 67.7% 52.2%
Adjusted operating efficiency ratio
40.2% 39.1% 38.8% 41.8% 46.2%
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Nine Months Ended
September 30,
(unaudited)
Years Ended December 31,
2019
2018
2018
2017
2016
The following table shows the reconciliation of reported return on average tangible assets and adjusted return on average tangible assets(5):
Average assets
$ 30,066,118 $ 30,686,808 $ 30,746,916 $ 18,451,301 $ 12,883,226
Average goodwill and other
intangibles
(1,771,242) (1,747,141) (1,746,687) (999,333) (762,679)
Average tangible assets
28,294,876 28,939,667 29,000,229 17,451,968 12,120,547
Net income available to common stockholders
314,386 326,775 439,276 91,029 139,972
Net income (loss) available to common stockholders, if annualized
420,333 436,897 439,276 91,029 139,972
Reported return on average tangible assets
1.49% 1.51% 1.51% 0.52% 1.15%
Adjusted net income available to common stockholders
$ 318,038 $ 333,255 $ 449,645 $ 222,039 $ 145,518
Annualized adjusted net income available to common stockholders
425,215 445,561 449,645 222,039 145,518
Adjusted return on average tangible assets
1.50% 1.54% 1.55% 1.27% 1.20%
(1)
Stockholders’ equity as a percentage of total assets, book value per common share, tangible common equity as a percentage of tangible assets and tangible book value per common share provides information to help assess our capital position and financial strength. We believe tangible book value measures allow comparability to other banking organizations that have not engaged in acquisitions that have resulted in the accumulation of goodwill and other intangible assets.
(2)
Adjusted net income and adjusted diluted earnings per share present a summary of our earnings, which includes adjustments to exclude certain revenues and expenses (generally associated with discrete merger transactions and non-recurring strategic plans) to help in assessing our recurring profitability.
(3)
Reported return on tangible common equity and the adjusted return on average tangible common equity measures provide information to evaluate our use of tangible equity.
(4)
The reported operating efficiency ratio is a non-GAAP measure calculated by dividing our GAAP non-interest expense by the sum of our GAAP net interest income plus GAAP non-interest income. The adjusted efficiency ratio is a non-GAAP measure calculated by dividing non-interest expense adjusted for intangible asset amortization and certain expenses generally associated with discrete merger transactions and non-recurring strategic plans by the sum of net interest income plus non-interest income plus the tax equivalent adjustment on securities income and elimination of the impact of gain or loss on sale of securities. The adjusted efficiency ratio is a measure we use to assess our operating performance.
(5)
Reported return on average tangible assets and the adjusted return on average tangible assets measures provide information to help assess our profitability.
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RISK FACTORS
An investment in our securities is subject to risks inherent to our business. Before making an investment decision, you should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below together with the risk factors and other information included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and in other documents that we subsequently filed with the SEC, all of which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. Additional risks and uncertainties that management is not aware of or that management currently deems immaterial may also impair our business operations. See also the discussion under the heading “Special Note Concerning Forward-Looking Statements.” This prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus are qualified in their entirety by these risk factors. If any of these risks actually occurs, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. If this were to happen, the value of our securities could decline significantly, and you could lose all or part of your investment.
The Notes will be unsecured and subordinated to any future senior indebtedness.
The Notes will be subordinated obligations of Sterling Bancorp. Accordingly, they will be junior in right of payment to any existing and all future senior indebtedness, and in certain events of insolvency, to other financial obligations as described under “Description of the Notes.” Our senior indebtedness includes all indebtedness, except indebtedness that is expressly subordinated to or ranked pari passu with the Notes, subject to certain exceptions. The Notes will rank equally with all other unsecured subordinated indebtedness of Sterling Bancorp issued in the future under the Indenture. In addition, the Notes will be structurally subordinated to all existing and future indebtedness, liabilities and other obligations, including deposits, of our subsidiaries, including Sterling National Bank. As of September 30, 2019, on a consolidated basis, our liabilities totaled approximately $25.6 billion, which includes approximately $173.7 million of senior notes issued by Sterling that would rank senior to the Notes, $173.1 million of subordinated notes issued by Sterling National Bank that would be structurally senior to the Notes and $25.3 billion of liabilities of our subsidiaries that would be structurally senior to the Notes.
In addition, the Notes will not be secured by any of our assets. As a result, the Notes will be effectively subordinated to all of our secured indebtedness to the extent of the value of the assets securing such indebtedness. The Indenture governing the Notes does not limit the amount of senior indebtedness and other financial obligations or secured obligations that we or our subsidiaries may incur.
As a result of the subordination provisions described above, holders of the Notes may not be fully repaid in the event of our bankruptcy, liquidation or reorganization.
The Notes will not be insured or guaranteed by the FDIC, any other governmental agency or any of our subsidiaries. The Notes will be structurally subordinated to the indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries, which means that creditors of our subsidiaries generally will be paid from those subsidiaries’ assets before holders of the Notes would have any claims to those assets.
The Notes are not savings accounts, deposits or other obligations of Sterling National Bank or any of our non-bank subsidiaries and are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other governmental agency or public or private insurer. The Notes are obligations of Sterling Bancorp only and are neither obligations of, nor guaranteed by, any of our subsidiaries. The Notes will be structurally subordinated to all existing and future indebtedness and other liabilities of our subsidiaries, which means that creditors of our subsidiaries (including, in the case of Sterling National Bank, its depositors) generally will be paid from those subsidiaries’ assets before holders of the Notes would have any claims to those assets. Even if we become a creditor of any of our subsidiaries, our rights as a creditor would be subordinate to any security interest in the assets of that subsidiary and any debt of that subsidiary senior to that held by us, and our rights could otherwise be subordinated to the rights of other creditors and depositors of that subsidiary. Furthermore, none of our subsidiaries is under any obligation to make payments to us, and any payments to us would depend on the earnings or financial condition of our subsidiaries and various business considerations. Statutory, contractual or other restrictions also limit our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends or make distributions, loans or advances to us. For these reasons, we may not have access to any assets or cash flows of our subsidiaries to make interest and principal payments on the Notes.
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The Indenture governing the Notes does not contain any limitations on our ability to incur additional indebtedness, grant or incur a lien on our assets, sell or otherwise dispose of assets, pay dividends or repurchase our capital stock.
Neither we nor any of our subsidiaries is restricted from incurring additional indebtedness or other liabilities, including additional senior or subordinated indebtedness, under the Indenture governing the terms of the Notes. If we incur additional indebtedness or liabilities, our ability to pay our obligations on the Notes could be adversely affected. We expect that we will from time to time incur additional indebtedness and other liabilities. In addition, we are not restricted under the Indenture governing the Notes from granting or incurring a lien on any of our assets, selling or otherwise disposing of any of our assets, paying dividends or issuing or repurchasing our securities including our regular quarterly dividend and share repurchases pursuant to our previously announced share repurchase program.
In addition, there are no financial covenants in the Indenture governing the Notes. Except as expressly provided in the Indenture, you are not protected under the Indenture governing the Notes in the event of a highly leveraged transaction, reorganization, default under our existing indebtedness, restructuring, merger or similar transaction that may adversely affect you. See “Description of the Notes — Consolidation, Merger and Sale of Assets.”
Payments on the Notes will depend on receipt of dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries.
We are a financial holding company and we conduct substantially all of our operations through subsidiaries, including Sterling National Bank. We depend on dividends, distributions and other payments from our subsidiaries to meet our obligations, including to fund payments on the Notes, and to provide funds for payment of dividends to our shareholders, to the extent declared by our Board of Directors. There are various legal limitations on the extent to which Sterling National Bank and our other subsidiaries can finance or otherwise supply funds to us (by dividend or otherwise). All national banks are limited in the payment of dividends without the approval of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) to an amount not to exceed the net profits (as defined by OCC regulations) for that year-to-date combined with its retained net profits for the preceding two calendar years, less any required transfers to surplus. Federal law also prohibits national banks from paying dividends that would be greater than the bank’s undivided profits after deducting statutory bad debt in excess of the bank’s allowance for loan losses. Under the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 (the “FDICIA”), a depository institution, such as Sterling National Bank, may not pay dividends if payment would cause it to become undercapitalized or if it is already undercapitalized. Further, contractual or other restrictions may also limit our subsidiaries’ abilities to pay dividends or make distributions, loans or advances to us. See the information under “Supervision and Regulation — Dividend Restrictions” in Item 1, “Business,” in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018. For these reasons, we may not have access to any assets or cash flow of our subsidiaries to make principal or interest payments on the Notes.
We may not be able to generate sufficient cash to service all of our debt, including the Notes.
Our ability to make scheduled payments of principal and interest, or to satisfy our obligations in respect of our debt or to refinance our debt, will depend on our future performance of our operating subsidiaries. Prevailing economic conditions (including interest rates), regulatory constraints, including, without limitation, limiting distributions to us from Sterling National Bank and required capital levels with respect to Sterling National Bank and financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control, will also affect our ability to meet these needs. Our subsidiaries may not be able to generate sufficient cash flows from operations, or we may be unable to obtain future borrowings in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our debt, or to fund our other liquidity needs. We may need to refinance all or a portion of our debt on or before maturity. We may not be able to refinance any of our debt when needed (including, without limitation, upon commencement of the floating rate period) on commercially reasonable terms or at all.
Regulatory guidelines may restrict our ability to pay the principal of, and accrued and unpaid interest on, the Notes, regardless of whether we are the subject of an insolvency proceeding.
As a financial holding company, our ability to pay the principal of, and interest on, the Notes is subject to the rules and guidelines of the Federal Reserve regarding capital adequacy. We intend to treat the Notes
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as “Tier 2 capital” under these rules and guidelines. The Federal Reserve guidelines generally require us to review the effects of the cash payment of Tier 2 capital instruments, such as the Notes, on our overall financial condition. The guidelines also require that we review our net income for the current and past four quarters, and the amounts we have paid on Tier 2 capital instruments for those periods, as well as our projected rate of earnings retention. Moreover, pursuant to federal law and the Federal Reserve regulations, as a bank holding company, we are required to act as a source of financial and managerial strength to Sterling National Bank and commit resources to its support, including, without limitation, the guarantee of its capital plans if it is undercapitalized. Such support may be required at times when we may not otherwise be inclined or able to provide it. As a result of the foregoing, we may be unable to pay accrued interest on the Notes on one or more of the scheduled interest payment dates, or at any other time, or the principal of the Notes at the maturity of the Notes.
If we were to be the subject of a bankruptcy proceeding under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, then the bankruptcy trustee would be deemed to have assumed, and would be required to cure, immediately any deficit under any commitment we have to any of the federal banking agencies to maintain the capital of Sterling National Bank, and any other insured depository institution for which we have such a responsibility, and any claim for breach of such obligation would generally have priority over most other unsecured claims.
Holders of the Notes will have limited rights, including limited rights of acceleration, if there is an event of default.
Payment of principal on the Notes may be accelerated only in the case of certain events of bankruptcy or insolvency involving us or Sterling National Bank. There is no automatic acceleration, or right of acceleration, in the case of default in the payment of principal of or interest on the Notes, or in the performance of any of our other obligations under the Notes or the Indenture governing the Notes. Our regulators can, in the event we or Sterling National Bank become subject to an enforcement action, prohibit Sterling National Bank from paying dividends to us, and prevent our payment of interest or principal on the Notes and any dividends on our capital stock, but such limits will not permit acceleration of the Notes. See “Description of the Notes — Defaults; Events of Default; Limited Rights of Acceleration.”
An active trading market for the Notes may not develop.
The Notes constitute a new issue of securities for which there is no existing trading market. We do not intend to apply for listing of the Notes on any securities exchange or for quotation of the Notes in any automated dealer quotation system. We cannot provide you with any assurance regarding whether a trading market for the Notes will develop, the ability of holders of the Notes to sell their Notes or the prices at which holders may be able to sell their Notes. The underwriters have advised us that they currently intend to make a secondary market in the Notes. The underwriters, however, are not obligated to do so, and any market-making with respect to the Notes may be discontinued at any time without notice. You should also be aware that there may be a limited number of buyers when you decide to sell your Notes. This may affect the price you receive for your Notes or your ability to sell your Notes at all. Investors in the Notes may not be able to sell the Notes at all or may not be able to sell the Notes at prices that will provide them with a yield comparable to similar investments that have a developed secondary market, and may consequently suffer from increased pricing volatility and market risk.
If a trading market for the Notes develops, changes in the debt markets, among others, could adversely affect your ability to liquidate your investment in the Notes and the market price of the Notes.
Many factors could affect the trading market for, and the trading value of, the Notes. These factors include: the method of calculating the principal, premium, if any, interest or other amounts payable, if any, on the Notes; the time remaining to the maturity of the Notes; the ranking of the Notes; the redemption features of the Notes; the outstanding amount of subordinated notes with terms identical to the Notes offered hereby; the prevailing interest rates being paid by other companies similar to us; changes in U.S. interest rates; whether the ratings on the Notes or us provided by any rating agency have changed; our financial condition, financial performance and future prospects; the level, direction and volatility of market interest rates generally; general economic conditions of the capital markets in the United States; and
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geopolitical conditions and other financial, political, regulatory, and judicial events that affect the capital markets generally. The condition of the financial markets and prevailing interest rates have fluctuated significantly in the past and are likely to fluctuate in the future. Such fluctuations could adversely affect the trading market (if any) for, and the market price of, the Notes.
Because the Notes may be redeemed at our option under certain circumstances prior to their maturity, if we elect to redeem all or any portion of the Notes, you may be subject to reinvestment risk.
On or after            , 2024, we may, at our option, redeem the Notes in whole or in part on each interest payment date. In addition, we may also redeem the Notes prior to maturity, at our option, in whole but not in part, if: (i) we receive an opinion from independent tax counsel to the effect that as a result of an amendment or change (including any announced prospective amendment or change) in law, an administrative or judicial action (including an announcement thereof) or an amendment to or change in any official position with respect to, or interpretation of, an administrative or judicial action or a law or regulation that differs from the previously generally accepted position or interpretation, there is more than an insubstantial risk that interest payable by us on the Notes is not, or within 90 days of the date of such opinion, will not be deductible by us, in whole or in part, for U.S. federal income tax purposes; (ii) a subsequent event occurs that, as a result of which, there is more than an insubstantial risk that we would not be entitled to treat the Notes as Tier 2 capital for regulatory capital purposes; or (iii) we are required to register as an investment company under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. The redemption price for any redemption is 100% of the principal amount of the Notes, plus accrued and unpaid interest thereon to, but excluding, the date of redemption. Any early redemption of the Notes will be subject to the receipt of the approval of the Federal Reserve, to the extent then required under applicable laws or regulations, including capital regulations. Any such redemption may have the effect of reducing the income or return that you may receive on an investment in the Notes by reducing the term of the investment. Under current regulatory capital guidelines, the aggregate principal amount of the Notes that will count as Tier 2 capital will be reduced by 20% in each of the last five years prior to the maturity date of the Notes. As a result, we may be more likely to redeem the Notes prior to their maturity date. If this occurs, you may not be able to reinvest the proceeds at an interest rate comparable to the rate paid on the Notes. See “Description of the Notes — Redemption.”
We may elect to redeem the Notes on or after the date on which they become redeemable at our option; however, investors should not expect us to make such election on such date when the Notes are first redeemable. Under Federal Reserve regulations, unless the Federal Reserve authorizes us in writing to do otherwise, we may not redeem the Notes unless they are replaced with other Tier 2 capital instruments or unless we can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Federal Reserve that, following redemption, we will continue to hold capital commensurate with our risk.
The amount of interest payable on the Notes will vary after            , 2024.
During the fixed rate period, the Notes will bear interest at an initial rate of    % per annum. Thereafter, the Notes will bear interest at a floating rate per annum equal to the Benchmark rate (which is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR) plus      basis points, subject to the provisions under “Description of the Notes — Interest.” The per annum interest rate that is determined at the reference time for each interest period will apply to the entire quarterly interest period following such determination date even if the Benchmark rate increases during that period.
Floating rate notes bear additional significant risks not associated with fixed rate debt securities. These risks include fluctuation of the interest rates and the possibility that you will receive an amount of interest that is lower than expected. We have no control over a number of matters, including, without limitation, economic, financial, and political events, that are important in determining the existence, magnitude, and longevity of market volatility and other risks and their impact on the value of, or payments made on, the Notes. In recent years, interest rates have been volatile, and that volatility may be expected in the future.
Our published credit ratings may not reflect all risks of an investment in the Notes, and changes in our published credit ratings may adversely affect your investment in the Notes.
The published credit ratings of us or our indebtedness are an assessment by rating agencies of our ability to pay our debts when due. These ratings are not recommendations to purchase, hold or sell the
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Notes, inasmuch as the ratings do not comment as to market price or suitability for a particular investor, are limited in scope, and do not address all material risks relating to an investment in the Notes, but rather reflect only the view of each rating agency at the time the rating is issued. The published credit ratings assigned to the Notes may not reflect the potential impact of all risks related to structure and other factors on any trading market for, or trading value of, the Notes. In addition, any real or anticipated changes in our published credit ratings will generally affect the trading market for, or the trading value of, the Notes.
Accordingly, you should consult your own financial and legal advisors as to the risks entailed by an investment in the Notes and the suitability of investing in the Notes in light of your particular circumstances.
Investors should not rely on indicative or historical data concerning SOFR.
The interest rate during the floating rate period will be determined using Three-Month Term SOFR (unless a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date occur with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR, in which case the rate of interest will be based on the next-available Benchmark Replacement, which is Compounded SOFR). In the following discussion of SOFR, when we refer to the Notes, we mean the Notes at any time during the floating rate period when the interest rate on the Notes is or will be determined based on SOFR, including Three-Month Term SOFR.
SOFR is published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (“FRBNY”) and is intended to be a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities. FRBNY reports that SOFR includes all trades in the Broad General Collateral Rate, plus bilateral U.S. Treasury repurchase agreement (“repo”) transactions cleared through the delivery-versus-payment service offered by the Fixed Income Clearing Corporation (the “FICC”), a subsidiary of DTC. SOFR is filtered by FRBNY to remove a portion of the foregoing transactions considered to be “specials.” According to FRBNY, “specials” are repos for specific-issue collateral which take place at cash-lending rates below those for general collateral repos because cash providers are willing to accept a lesser return on their cash in order to obtain a particular security.
FRBNY reports that SOFR is calculated as a volume-weighted median of transaction-level tri-party repo data collected from The Bank of New York Mellon, which currently acts as the clearing bank for the tri-party repo market, as well as General Collateral Finance Repo transaction data and data on bilateral U.S. Treasury repo transactions cleared through the FICC’s delivery-versus-payment service. FRBNY states that it obtains information from DTCC Solutions LLC, an affiliate of DTC.
FRBNY currently publishes SOFR daily on its website at https://apps.newyorkfed.org/markets/​autorates/sofr. FRBNY states on its publication page for SOFR that use of SOFR is subject to important disclaimers, limitations and indemnification obligations, including that FRBNY may alter the methods of calculation, publication schedule, rate revision practices or availability of SOFR at any time without notice. The foregoing Internet website is an inactive textual reference only, meaning that the information contained on the website is not part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus or incorporated by reference herein or therein.
FRBNY started publishing SOFR in April of 2018. FRBNY has also started publishing historical indicative SOFRs dating back to 2014, although such historical indicative data inherently involves assumptions, estimates and approximations. Investors should not rely on such historical indicative data or on any historical changes or trends in SOFR as an indicator of the future performance of SOFR. Since the initial publication of SOFR, daily changes in the rate have, on occasion, been more volatile than daily changes in comparable benchmark or market rates, and SOFR over time may bear little or no relation to the historical actual or historical indicative data. In addition, the return on and value of the Notes may fluctuate more than floating rate securities that are linked to less volatile rates.
Changes in SOFR could adversely affect holders of the Notes.
Because SOFR is published by FRBNY based on data received from other sources, we have no control over its determination, calculation or publication. There is no assurance that SOFR will not be discontinued or fundamentally altered in a manner that is materially adverse to the interests of investors in the Notes. If the manner in which SOFR is calculated is changed, that change may result in a reduction in
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the amount of interest that accrues on the Notes during the floating rate period, which may adversely affect the trading prices of the Notes. Further, if the Benchmark rate on the Notes during the floating rate period on any determination date declines to zero or becomes negative, the interest rate will be deemed to equal zero. In addition, once the Benchmark rate for the Notes for each interest period during the floating rate period is determined by the calculation agent on the determination date, interest on the Notes shall accrue at such Benchmark rate for the applicable interest period and will not be subject to change during such interest period. There is no assurance that changes in SOFR could not have a material adverse effect on the yield on, value of and market for the Notes.
SOFR differs fundamentally from, and may not be a comparable substitute for, U.S. dollar LIBOR.
In June 2017, the Alternative Reference Rates Committee (“ARRC”) convened by the Federal Reserve and FRBNY announced SOFR as its recommended alternative to London interbank offered rate (“LIBOR”) for U.S. dollar obligations. However, because SOFR is a broad U.S. Treasury repo financing rate that represents overnight secured funding transactions, it differs fundamentally from LIBOR. For example, SOFR is a secured overnight rate, while LIBOR is an unsecured rate that represents interbank funding over different maturities. In addition, because SOFR is a transaction-based rate, it is backward-looking, whereas LIBOR is forward-looking. Because of these and other differences, there is no assurance that SOFR will perform in the same way as LIBOR would have performed at any time, and there is no guarantee that it is a comparable substitute for LIBOR.
Any failure of SOFR to gain market acceptance could adversely affect holders of the Notes.
SOFR may fail to gain market acceptance. SOFR was developed for use in certain U.S. dollar derivatives and other financial contracts as an alternative to LIBOR in part because it is considered to be a good representation of general funding conditions in the overnight U.S. Treasury repo market. However, as a rate based on transactions secured by U.S. Treasury securities, it does not measure bank-specific credit risk and, as a result, is less likely to correlate with the unsecured short-term funding costs of banks. This may mean that market participants would not consider SOFR to be a comparable substitute or successor for all of the purposes for which LIBOR historically has been used (including, without limitation, as a representation of the unsecured short-term funding costs of banks), which may, in turn, lessen its market acceptance. Any failure of SOFR to gain market acceptance could adversely affect the yield on, value of and market for the Notes.
The interest rate for the Notes during the applicable floating rate period may be determined based on a rate other than Three-Month Term SOFR.
Under the terms of the Notes, the interest rate on the Notes for each interest period during the applicable floating rate period will be based on Three-Month Term SOFR, a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months that will be based on SOFR. Three-Month Term SOFR does not currently exist and is currently being developed under the sponsorship of the ARRC. There is no assurance that the development of Three-Month Term SOFR, or any other forward-looking term rate based on SOFR, will be completed. Uncertainty surrounding the development of forward-looking term rates based on SOFR could have a material adverse effect on the return on, value of and market for the Notes. If, at the commencement of the applicable floating rate period for the Notes, the Relevant Governmental Body (as defined in “Description of Notes” below) has not selected or recommended a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR, the development of a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR that has been recommended or selected by the Relevant Governmental Body is not complete or we determine that the use of a forward-looking rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR is not administratively feasible, then the next-available Benchmark Replacement under the benchmark transition provisions will be used to determine the interest rate on the Notes during the applicable floating rate period (unless a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date occur with respect to that next-available Benchmark Replacement).
Under the terms of the Notes, we are expressly authorized to make determinations, decisions or elections with respect to technical, administrative or operational matters that we decide are appropriate to reflect the use of Three-Month Term SOFR as the interest rate basis for the Notes, which are defined in the
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terms of the notes as “Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions.” For example, assuming that a form of Three-Month Term SOFR is developed, it is not currently known how or by whom rates for Three-Month Term SOFR will be published. Accordingly, we will need to determine and to instruct the calculation agent concerning the manner and timing for its determination of the applicable Three-Month Term SOFR during the applicable floating rate period. Our determination and implementation of any Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions could result in adverse consequences to the amount of interest that accrues on the notes during the applicable floating rate period, which could adversely affect the return on, value of and market for the Notes.
Any Benchmark Replacement may not be the economic equivalent of Three-Month Term SOFR.
Under the benchmark transition provisions of the Notes, if the calculation agent determines that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR, then the floating interest rate on the Notes for each interest period during the floating rate period will be determined using the next-available Benchmark Replacement (which may include a related Benchmark Replacement Adjustment). However, the Benchmark Replacement may not be the economic equivalent of Three-Month Term SOFR. For example, Compounded SOFR, the first-available Benchmark Replacement, is the compounded average of the daily SOFR calculated in arrears, while Three-Month Term SOFR is intended to be a forward-looking rate with a tenor of three months. In addition, very limited market precedent exists for securities that use Compounded SOFR as the rate basis, and the method for calculating Compounded SOFR in those precedents varies. Further, the ISDA Fallback Rate, which is another Benchmark Replacement, has not yet been established and may change over time.
The implementation of Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes could adversely affect holders of the Notes.
Under the benchmark transition provisions of the Notes, if Three-Month Term SOFR has been discontinued or if a particular Benchmark Replacement or Benchmark Replacement Adjustment cannot be determined, then the next-available Benchmark Replacement or Benchmark Replacement Adjustment will apply. These replacement rates and adjustments may be selected or formulated by: (i) the Relevant Governmental Body (such as the ARRC); (ii) ISDA; or (iii) in certain circumstances, us. In addition, the benchmark transition provisions expressly authorize us to make certain changes, which are defined in the terms of the Notes as “Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes,” with respect to, among other things, the determination of interest periods, and the timing and frequency of determining rates and making payments of interest. The application of a Benchmark Replacement and Benchmark Replacement Adjustment, and any implementation of Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes, could result in adverse consequences to the amount of interest that accrues on the Notes during any interest period during the floating rate period, which could adversely affect the yield on, value of and market for the Notes. Further, there is no assurance that the characteristics of any Benchmark Replacement will be similar to the then-current Benchmark rate that it is replacing, or that any Benchmark Replacement will produce the economic equivalent of the then-current Benchmark rate that it is replacing.
Also, since SOFR is a relatively new market index, SOFR-linked debt securities likely will have no established trading market when issued, and an established trading market may never develop or may not be very liquid. Market terms for debt securities indexed to SOFR, such as the spread over the index reflected in interest rate provisions, may evolve over time, and trading prices of the Notes may be lower than those of later-issued SOFR-linked debt securities as a result. Similarly, if SOFR does not prove to be widely used in securities similar to the Notes, the trading price of the Notes may be lower than those of debt securities linked to such rates that are more widely used. Debt securities indexed to SOFR (as the Notes will be) may not be able to be sold at all or may not be able to be sold at prices that will provide a yield comparable to similar investments that have a developed secondary market, and may consequently suffer from increased pricing volatility and market risk.
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We or an affiliate of ours will or could have authority to make determinations and elections that could affect the return on, value of and market for the Notes.
Under the terms of the Notes, we may make certain determinations, decisions and elections with respect to the Benchmark rate on the Notes during the floating rate period, including, without limitation, any determination, decision or election required to be made by the calculation agent that the calculation agent fails to make. We will make any such determination, decision or election in our sole discretion, and any such determination, decision or election that we make could affect the amount of interest that accrues on the Notes during any interest period in the floating rate period. If the calculation agent fails, when required, to make a determination that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred, or fails, when required, to determine the Benchmark Replacement and Benchmark Replacement Adjustment, then we will make those determinations in our sole discretion. Furthermore, we or an affiliate of ours may assume the duties of calculation agent. We will act as the initial calculation agent and we cannot assure you that we will appoint an independent third-party calculation agent at any time. Any exercise of discretion by us under the terms of the Notes, including, without limitation, any discretion exercised by us or by an affiliate acting as calculation agent, could present a conflict of interest. In making the required determinations, decisions and elections, we or an affiliate of ours acting as calculation agent may have economic interests that are adverse to the interest of the holders of the Notes, and those determinations, decisions or elections could have a material adverse effect on the yield on, value of and market for the Notes. All determinations, decisions or elections by us, or by us or an affiliate acting as calculation agent, under the terms of the Notes will be conclusive and binding absent manifest error.
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USE OF PROCEEDS
We estimate that the net proceeds from this offering will be approximately $      million, after deducting the underwriting discount and our estimated offering expenses. We intend to use the net proceeds of this offering to repay certain outstanding indebtedness and the remainder for general corporate purposes, which may include, without limitation, providing capital to support our growth organically or through strategic acquisitions, financing investments and capital expenditures, and for investments in Sterling National Bank as regulatory capital. We currently have no definitive agreements or arrangements regarding any future acquisitions.
The outstanding indebtedness to be repaid upon maturity in June 2020 with the net proceeds from this offering of the Notes consists of  $173.4 million of 3.50% fixed rate senior notes assumed in the Company’s acquisition of Astoria Financial Corporation, which mature on June 8, 2020.
Our management will have broad discretion in the use of the net proceeds from the sale of the Notes. The foregoing represents our intentions based upon our present plans and business conditions. The occurrence of unforeseen events or changed business conditions, however, could result in the application of the net proceeds of the offering in a manner other than as described in this prospectus supplement.
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CAPITALIZATION
The following table shows our capitalization and short-term indebtedness at September 30, 2019:
(1)
on a consolidated basis; and
(2)
on a consolidated basis as adjusted to give effect to the issuance and sale of the Notes in this offering (after deducting underwriting discount and estimated offering expenses) and the use of the net proceeds from this offering of the Notes to repay outstanding indebtedness upon maturity in June 2020 as described under “Use of Proceeds.”
This table should be read in conjunction with the risk factors and our consolidated financial statements and related notes for the year ended December 31, 2018 and the quarter ended September 30, 2019 included and incorporated by reference in this prospectus supplement and the accompanying prospectus. See “Where You Can Find More Information.”
As of September 30, 2019
(in thousands, except share data)Unaudited
Actual
As Adjusted(1)
Liabilities:
Deposits:
Non-interest bearing
$ 4,586,632 $
Interest bearing
4,236,267
Savings
2,348,903
Money market
7,493,074
Certificates of deposit
2,914,448
Total deposits
21,579,324
FHLB borrowings
2,800,907
Repurchase agreements
26,544
Senior Notes
173,652
Subordinated Notes – Sterling National Bank
173,121
Subordinated Notes – Sterling Bancorp
Mortgage escrow funds
84,595
Other liabilities
718,555
Total liabilities
25,556,698
Stockholders’ Equity:
Preferred stock (par value $0.01 per share; 10,000,000 shares authorized; 135,000 shares issued and outstanding at September 30, 2019)
137,799
Common stock (par value $0.01 per share; 310,000,000 shares authorized at
September 30, 2019; 202,392,884 shares outstanding at September 30,
2019)
2,299
Additional paid-in capital
3,762,046
Treasury stock, at cost (27,480,041 shares at September 30, 2019)
(501,814)
Retained earnings
1,075,503
Accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax expense of  $17,239 at
September 30, 2019
45,134
Total stockholders’ equity
4,520,967
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
$ 30,077,665 $       
Capital Ratios:
Common equity tier 1 risk-based ratio
11.73%
Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio
12.35
Total risk-based capital ratio
13.49
Tier 1 leverage ratio
9.78
(1)
The financials, as adjusted, assume the outstanding indebtedness described in “Use of Proceeds” was eligible for redemption as of September 30, 2019.
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DESCRIPTION OF THE NOTES
We will issue the Notes under a Subordinated Debt Indenture between Sterling, as the issuer, and U.S. Bank National Association, as trustee (the “Trustee”), to be dated as of the issue date (the “Base Indenture”), as supplemented by a First Supplemental Indenture between Sterling Bancorp and the Trustee, to be dated as of the issue date (the “First Supplemental Indenture”). We refer to the Base Indenture, as supplemented by the First Supplemental Indenture, as the “Indenture.” You may request a copy of the Indenture from us as described under “Where You Can Find More Information.” We have summarized the material terms of the Indenture and the Notes below, but the summary does not purport to be complete and is subject to and qualified in its entirety by reference to the Indenture and the Notes. The following description of the terms of the Indenture and the Notes supplements and, to the extent inconsistent therewith, replaces and supersedes the description of the general terms and provisions of the subordinated debt securities in the accompanying prospectus.
You should read the Indenture and the Notes because they, and not this description, define your rights as holders of the Notes. For purposes of this section, references to “Sterling,” “we,” “us” and “our” include only Sterling Bancorp and not any of its subsidiaries.
General
The Notes will be unsecured and subordinated obligations of Sterling and will be issued as a series of the debt securities under the Indenture in an initial aggregate principal amount of  $          . The Notes are not guaranteed by Sterling National Bank or any of our other subsidiaries or affiliates, or any other person. We may, from time to time, without notice to or the consent of the holders of the Notes, create and issue additional notes ranking equally with the Notes and with identical terms in all respects (or in all respects except for the offering price, the payment of interest accruing prior to the issue date of such additional notes or except for the first payment of interest following the issue date of such additional notes); provided, that a separate CUSIP number will be issued for any such additional notes unless such additional notes are fungible with the Notes for U.S. federal income tax purposes, subject to the procedures of the DTC.
The Notes will mature on            , 2029 (the “Maturity Date”), unless previously redeemed or otherwise accelerated. Payment of principal on the Notes may be accelerated only in the case of certain events of bankruptcy or insolvency. See “— Defaults; Events of Default; Limited Rights of Acceleration.”
Beginning with the interest payment date of            , 2024, and on any interest payment date thereafter, we may, at our option, subject to obtaining the prior approval of the Federal Reserve (or any successor bank regulatory agency) to the extent such approval is then required under the rules of the Federal Reserve (“Federal Reserve Approval”), redeem the Notes, in whole or in part, at a price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed plus any accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the redemption date. The Notes may not be redeemed by us prior to            , 2024, except that we may, at our option, subject to Federal Reserve Approval, redeem the Notes in whole, but not in part, prior to maturity upon the occurrence of a “Tax Event” or a “Tier 2 Capital Event” (as such terms are defined in the Indenture) or if we are required to register as an investment company pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, in each case, at a price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes to be redeemed plus any accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the redemption date. Any partial redemption will be made in accordance with the applicable procedures of DTC (as defined below). See “— Redemption.”
The Notes are not convertible into, or exchangeable for, equity securities, other securities or assets of Sterling or its subsidiaries. There is no sinking fund for the Notes. Except as described below under “— Clearance and Settlement,” the Notes will be represented by one or more global certificates deposited with or on behalf of DTC and registered in the name of Cede & Co. or another nominee of DTC. The Notes will be issued and may be transferred only in minimum denominations of $1,000 and integral multiples of  $1,000 in excess thereof in book-entry form only. See “— Clearance and Settlement.”
As a bank holding company, our ability to make payments on the Notes will depend primarily on the receipt of interests and other distributions from Sterling National Bank. There are various regulatory restrictions on the ability of Sterling National Bank to pay dividends or make other distributions to us. See
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“Risk Factors  —  Payments on the Notes will depend on receipt of dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries” and “Risk Factors — Regulatory guidelines may restrict our ability to pay the principal of, and accrued and unpaid interest on, the Notes, regardless of whether we are the subject of an insolvency proceeding” in this prospectus supplement.
Delivery of reports, information and documents (including, without limitation, reports contemplated in this section) to the Trustee is for information purposes only, and the Trustee’s receipt thereof shall not constitute actual or constructive notice of any information contained therein or determinable from information contained therein, including our compliance with covenants under the Indenture and the Notes, as to which the Trustee is entitled to rely exclusively on officers’ certificates.
No recourse will be available for the payment of principal of, or interest on, any Note, for any claim based thereon, or otherwise in respect thereof, against any shareholder, employee, officer or director, as such, past, present or future, of Sterling or any successor entity. Neither the Indenture nor the Notes contain any covenants or restrictions restricting the incurrence of debt, deposits or other liabilities by us or by our subsidiaries. The Indenture and the Notes contain no financial covenants and do not restrict us from paying dividends, selling assets, making investments or issuing or repurchasing other securities, and do not contain any provision that would provide protection to the holders of the Notes against a sudden and dramatic decline in credit quality resulting from a merger, takeover, recapitalization or similar restructuring or any other event involving us or our subsidiaries that may adversely affect our credit quality.
The Notes are not savings accounts, deposits or other obligations of Sterling National Bank or any of our non-bank subsidiaries and are not insured or guaranteed by the FDIC or any other governmental agency or public or private insurer. The Notes are solely obligations of Sterling and are neither obligations of, nor guaranteed by, any of our subsidiaries.
We do not intend to apply for the listing of the Notes on any securities exchange or the quotation of the Notes on any quotation system.
Interest
From and including the date of original issuance to, but excluding,            , 2024 or the date of earlier redemption (the “fixed rate period”), the Notes will bear interest at an initial rate of    % per annum, payable semi-annually in arrears on             and            of each year (each, a “fixed rate interest payment date”), commencing on            , 2020. The last fixed rate interest payment date for the fixed rate period will be            , 2024.
From and including            , 2024 to, but excluding, the Maturity Date or the date of earlier redemption (the “floating rate period”), the Notes will bear interest at a floating rate per annum equal to the Benchmark rate (which is expected to be Three-Month Term SOFR) plus      basis points for each quarterly interest period during the floating rate period, payable quarterly in arrears on            ,            ,          and             of each year (each, a “floating rate interest payment date,” and together with the fixed rate interest payment dates, the “interest payment dates”), commencing on       , 2025. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if the Benchmark rate is less than zero, the Benchmark rate shall be deemed to be zero.
For the purpose of calculating the interest on the Notes for each interest period during the floating rate period when the Benchmark is Three-Month Term SOFR, “Three-Month Term SOFR” means the rate for Term SOFR for a tenor of three months that is published by the Term SOFR Administrator at the Reference Time for any interest period, as determined by the calculation agent after giving effect to the Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions. We will act as the initial calculation agent.
The following definitions apply to the foregoing definition of Three-Month Term SOFR:
“Benchmark” means, initially, Three-Month Term SOFR; provided that if the calculation agent determines on or prior to the Reference Time that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR or the then-current Benchmark, then “Benchmark” means the applicable Benchmark Replacement.
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“Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Website” means the website of FRBNY at http://www.newyorkfed.org, or any successor source. The foregoing Internet website is an inactive textual reference only, meaning that the information contained on the website is not part of this prospectus supplement or the accompanying prospectus or incorporated by reference herein or therein.
“Reference Time” with respect to any determination of the Benchmark means (1) if the Benchmark is Three-Month Term SOFR, the time determined by the calculation agent after giving effect to the Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions, and (2) if the Benchmark is not Three-Month Term SOFR, the time determined by the calculation agent after giving effect to the Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes.
“Relevant Governmental Body” means the Federal Reserve and/or FRBNY, or a committee officially endorsed or convened by the Federal Reserve and/or FRBNY or any successor thereto.
“SOFR” means the secured overnight financing rate published by FRBNY, as the administrator of the Benchmark (or a successor administrator), on the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s website.
“Term SOFR” means the forward-looking term rate for the applicable Corresponding Tenor based on SOFR that has been selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body.
“Term SOFR Administrator” means any entity designated by the Relevant Governmental Body as the administrator of Term SOFR (or a successor administrator).
“Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions” means any determination, decision or election with respect to any technical, administrative or operational matter (including with respect to the manner and timing of the publication of Three-Month Term SOFR, or changes to the definition of   “interest period,” timing and frequency of determining Three-Month Term SOFR with respect to each interest period and making payments of interest, rounding of amounts or tenors, and other administrative matters) that the calculation agent decides may be appropriate to reflect the use of Three-Month Term SOFR as the Benchmark in a manner substantially consistent with market practice (or, if the calculation agent decides that adoption of any portion of such market practice is not administratively feasible or if the calculation agent determines that no market practice for the use of Three-Month Term SOFR exists, in such other manner as the calculation agent determines is reasonably necessary).
The terms “Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes,” “Benchmark Replacement Date,” “Benchmark Replacement,” “Benchmark Replacement Adjustment” and “Benchmark Transition Event” have the meanings set forth below under the heading “Effect of Benchmark Transition Event.”
Notwithstanding the foregoing paragraphs related to the determination of interest, if the calculation agent determines on or prior to the relevant Reference Time that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date (each as defined below) have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR, then the provisions set forth below under the heading “Effect of Benchmark Transition Event,” which we refer to as the “benchmark transition provisions,” will thereafter apply to all determinations of the interest rate on the Notes for each interest period during the floating rate period. In accordance with the benchmark transition provisions, after a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred, the interest rate on the Notes for each interest period during the floating rate period will be an annual rate equal to the Benchmark Replacement (as defined below) plus      basis points.
Absent manifest error, the calculation agent’s determination of the interest rate for an interest period for the Notes will be binding and conclusive on you, the Trustee and us. The calculation agent’s determination of any interest rate, and its calculation of interest payments for any period, will be maintained on file at the calculation agent’s principal offices and will be made available to any holder of the Notes upon request.
Interest shall be calculated on the basis of a 360-day year consisting of twelve 30-day months during the fixed rate period on the basis of a 360-day year and on the basis of the actual number of days elapsed during the floating rate period. Dollar amounts resulting from that calculation will be rounded to the nearest cent, with one-half cent being rounded upward.
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Interest on the Notes, subject to certain exceptions, will accrue during the applicable interest period. When we use the term “interest period,” we mean the period from and including the immediately preceding interest payment date in respect of which interest has been paid or duly provided for or, if no interest has been paid or duly provided for, from and including the date of issuance of the Notes to, but excluding, the applicable interest payment date or the Maturity Date or date of earlier redemption, if applicable. If a fixed rate interest payment date or the Maturity Date falls on a day that is not a business day, then the interest payment or the payment of principal and interest at maturity will be paid on the next succeeding business day, but the payments made on such dates will be treated as being made on the date that the payment was first due and the holders of the Notes will not be entitled to any further interest or other payments. If a floating rate interest payment date falls on a day that is not a business day, then such floating rate interest payment date will be postponed to the next succeeding business day unless such day falls in the next succeeding calendar month, in which case such floating rate interest payment date will be accelerated to the immediately preceding business day, and, in each such case, the amounts payable on such business day will include interest accrued to, but excluding, such business day.
Interest on each Note will be payable to the person in whose name such Note is registered on the fifteenth day immediately preceding the applicable interest payment date, whether or not such day is a business day. Any interest which is payable, but is not punctually paid or duly provided for, on any interest payment date shall cease to be payable to the holder on the relevant record date by virtue of having been a holder on such date, and such defaulted interest may be paid by us to the person in whose name the Notes are registered at the close of business on a special record date for the payment of defaulted interest. However, interest that is paid on the Maturity Date will be paid to the person to whom the principal will be payable. Interest will be payable by wire transfer in immediately available funds in U.S. dollars at the office of the principal paying agent or, at our option in the event the Notes are not represented by Global Notes (as defined below), by check mailed to the address of the person specified for payment in the preceding sentences.
If any of the foregoing provisions concerning the calculation of the interest rate and interest payments during the floating rate period are inconsistent with any of the Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions determined by the calculation agent, then the relevant Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions will apply. Furthermore, if the calculation agent determines that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR at any time when any of the Notes are outstanding, then the foregoing provisions concerning the calculation of the interest rate and interest payments during the floating rate period will be modified in accordance with the benchmark transition provisions.
When we use the term “business day,” we mean any day, other than a Saturday or Sunday, that is neither a legal holiday nor a day on which banking institutions in the City of New York or any place of payment are authorized or required by law, regulation or executive order to close.
Ranking; Subordination
The Notes will be unsecured, subordinated obligations of Sterling. The Notes will rank equal in right of payment and upon our liquidation with any of our future indebtedness the terms of which provide that such indebtedness ranks equally with the Notes and senior in right of payment and upon our liquidation to any of our future indebtedness the terms of which provide that such indebtedness ranks junior in right of payment to the Notes. Our obligation to make any payment on account of the Notes will be subordinated and junior to our Senior Indebtedness (as defined in the Indenture and described below).
The Notes will not be guaranteed by any of our subsidiaries, including Sterling National Bank, which is our principal subsidiary. The Notes will be effectively subordinated to our future secured indebtedness to the extent of the value of the collateral securing such indebtedness and structurally subordinated to the existing and future indebtedness of our subsidiaries, including without limitation Sterling National Bank’s depositors, liabilities to general creditors and liabilities arising in the ordinary course of business or otherwise, which means that such creditors generally will be paid from those subsidiaries’ assets before holders of the Notes would have any claims to those assets.
The Indenture and the Notes do not limit the amount of Senior Indebtedness, secured indebtedness, or other liabilities having priority over, or ranking equally with, the Notes that we or our subsidiaries may
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hereafter incur. As of September 30, 2019, on a consolidated basis, our liabilities totaled approximately $25.6 billion, which includes approximately $173.7 million of senior notes issued by Sterling that would rank senior to the Notes, $173.1 million of subordinated notes issued by Sterling National Bank that would be structurally senior to the Notes and $25.3 billion of liabilities of our subsidiaries that would be structurally senior to the Notes.
“Senior Indebtedness” means, without duplication, the principal, premium, if any, unpaid interest (including interest accruing on or after the filing of any petition in bankruptcy or for reorganization relating to Sterling, whether or not a claim for post-filing interest is allowed in such proceeding), fees, charges, expenses, reimbursement and indemnification obligations, and all other amounts payable under or in respect of the following indebtedness of Sterling, whether any such indebtedness exists as of the date of the Indenture or is created, incurred or assumed after such date:

all obligations for borrowed money;

all obligations evidenced by debentures, debt securities or other similar instruments;

all obligations in respect of letters of credit, security purchase facilities or bankers acceptances or similar instruments (or reimbursement obligations with respect thereto);

all obligations to pay the deferred purchase price of property or services, except trade accounts payable arising in the ordinary course of business;

indebtedness secured by any mortgage, pledge, lien, charge, encumbrance or any security interest existing on property owned by Sterling;

obligations associated with derivative products including, but not limited to, interest rate and currency future or exchange contracts, foreign exchange contracts, swap agreements (including interest rate and foreign exchange rate swap agreements), cap agreements, floor agreements, collar agreements, options, interest rate future or option contracts, commodity contracts, and similar arrangements;

purchase money and similar obligations;

obligations to general creditors of Sterling;

a deferred obligation of, or any such obligation, directly or indirectly guaranteed by, Sterling which obligation is incurred in connection with the acquisition of any business, properties or assets not evidenced by a note or similar instrument given in connection therewith;

interest or obligations in respect of any of the foregoing accruing after the commencement of insolvency or bankruptcy proceedings;

all obligations of the type referred to in the foregoing subclauses above of other persons or entities for the payment of which Sterling is responsible or liable as obligor, guarantor or otherwise, whether or not classified as a liability on a balance sheet prepared in accordance with GAAP; and

any renewals, amendments, deferrals, supplements, extensions, refundings or replacements of any of the foregoing.
With respect to the Notes, Senior Indebtedness excludes:

any such indebtedness, obligation or liability referred to above as to which, in the instrument creating or evidencing the same or pursuant to which the same is outstanding, it is provided that such indebtedness, obligation or liability is not superior in right of payment to the Notes, or ranks pari passu with the Notes;

any such indebtedness, obligation or liability which is subordinated to indebtedness of Sterling to substantially the same extent as, or to a greater extent than, the Notes are subordinated;

any indebtedness to a subsidiary of Sterling;

any trade account payables in the ordinary course of business; and
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the Notes.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, and for the avoidance of doubt, if the Federal Reserve (or other applicable regulatory agency or authority) promulgates any rule or issues any interpretation that defines general creditor(s), the main purpose of which is to establish criteria for determining whether the subordinated debt of a financial or bank holding company is to be included in its capital, then the term “general creditors” as used in the definition of  “Senior Indebtedness” in the Indenture will have the meaning as described in that rule or interpretation.
Upon the liquidation, dissolution, winding up, or reorganization of Sterling, Sterling must pay to the holders of all Senior Indebtedness the full amounts of principal of, premium, interest and any other amounts owing on, that Senior Indebtedness before any payment is made on the Notes. If, after we have made those payments on our Senior Indebtedness there are amounts available for payment on the Notes, then we may make any payment on the Notes.
Because of the subordination provisions and the obligation to pay Senior Indebtedness described above, in the event of insolvency of Sterling, holders of the Notes may recover less ratably than holders of the Senior Indebtedness and other creditors of Sterling. With respect to the assets of a subsidiary of ours, our creditors (including holders of the Notes) are structurally subordinated to the prior claims of creditors of such subsidiary, except to the extent that we may be a creditor with recognized claims against such subsidiary.
Subject to the terms of the Indenture, if the Trustee or any holder of any of the Notes receives any payment or distribution of our assets in contravention of the subordination provisions applicable to the Notes before all Senior Indebtedness is paid in full in cash, property or securities, including by way of set-off or any such payment or distribution that may be payable or deliverable by reason of the payment of any other of our indebtedness being subordinated to the payment of the Notes, then such payment or distribution will be held in trust for the benefit of holders of Senior Indebtedness or their representatives to the extent necessary to make payment in full in cash or payment satisfactory to the holders of Senior Indebtedness of all unpaid Senior Indebtedness.
No Additional Amounts
In the event that any payment on the Notes is subject to withholding of any U.S. federal income tax or other tax or assessment (as a result of a change in law or otherwise), we will not pay additional amounts with respect to such tax or assessment. For a discussion relating to certain U.S. federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of the Notes, see “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations.”
Redemption
We may, at our option, beginning with the interest payment date of             , 2024, but not prior thereto (except upon the occurrence of certain events specified below), and on any interest payment date thereafter, redeem the Notes, in whole or in part, from time to time, subject to obtaining the Federal Reserve Approval, at a price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes being redeemed plus interest that is accrued and unpaid to, but excluding, the date of redemption.
The Notes may not otherwise be redeemed prior to the Maturity Date, except that we may also, at our option, redeem the Notes, in whole, but not in part, subject to obtaining the Federal Reserve Approval, at a redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the Notes being redeemed plus interest that is accrued and unpaid to, but excluding, the date of redemption, at any time, including before            , 2024, upon the occurrence of:

a “Tax Event,” defined in the Indenture to mean the receipt by us of an opinion of independent tax counsel to the effect that as a result of  (a) an amendment to or change (including any announced prospective amendment or change) in any law or treaty, or any regulation thereunder, of the United States or any of its political subdivisions or taxing authorities; (b) a judicial decision, administrative action, official administrative pronouncement, ruling, regulatory procedure, regulation, notice or announcement, including any notice or announcement of intent
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to adopt or promulgate any ruling, regulatory procedure or regulation (any of the foregoing, an “administrative or judicial action”); or (c) an amendment to or change in any official position with respect to, or any interpretation of, an administrative or judicial action or a law or regulation of the United States that differs from the previously generally accepted position or interpretation, in each case, which change or amendment or challenge becomes effective or which pronouncement, or decision or challenge is announced on or after the original issue date of the Notes, there is more than an insubstantial risk that interest payable by us on the Notes is not, or, within 90 days of the date of such opinion, will not be, deductible by us, in whole or in part, for United States federal income tax purposes;

a “Tier 2 Capital Event,” defined in the Indenture to mean our good faith determination that, as a result of   (a) any amendment to, or change in, the laws, rules or regulations of the United States (including, for the avoidance of doubt, any agency or instrumentality of the United States, including the Federal Reserve and other federal bank regulatory agencies) or any political subdivision of or in the United States that is enacted or becomes effective after the original issue date of the Notes; (b) any proposed change in those laws, rules or regulations that is announced or becomes effective after the original issue date of the Notes; or (c) any official administrative decision or judicial decision or administrative action or other official pronouncement interpreting or applying those laws, rules, regulations, policies or guidelines with respect thereto that is announced after the original issue date of the Notes, there is more than an insubstantial risk that we will not be entitled to treat the Notes then outstanding as “Tier 2 Capital” (or its equivalent) for purposes of the capital adequacy rules or regulations of the Federal Reserve (or, as and if applicable, the capital adequacy rules or regulations of any successor appropriate federal banking agency) as then in effect and applicable to us, for so long as any Notes are outstanding; or

Sterling becoming required to register as an investment company pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended.
In the event of any redemption of the Notes, we will deliver or cause to be delivered a notice of redemption (which notice may be conditional in our discretion on one or more conditions precedent, and the redemption date may be delayed until such time as any or all of such conditions have been satisfied or revoked by us if we determine that such conditions will not be satisfied) to each holder of Notes not less than 30 nor more than 60 days prior to the redemption date.
Any partial redemption will be made in accordance with DTC’s applicable procedures among all of the holders of the Notes. If any Note is to be redeemed in part only, the notice of redemption relating to such Note shall state the portion of the principal amount thereof to be redeemed. A replacement Note in principal amount equal to the unredeemed portion thereof will be issued in the name of the holder thereof upon cancellation of the original Note. The Notes are not subject to redemption or prepayment at the option of the holders.
Defaults; Events of Default; Limited Rights of Acceleration
The Notes and Indenture provide for only limited events upon which the principal of the Notes may be accelerated. These events are:

pursuant to or within the meaning of any bankruptcy law, we (i) commence a voluntary case, (ii) consent to the entry of an order for relief against us in an involuntary case, (iii) consent to the appointment of a custodian of us or for all or substantially all of our property, (iv) make a general assignment for the benefit of our creditors or (v) are generally unable to pay our debts as they become due;

a court of competent jurisdiction enters an order or decree under any bankruptcy law that (i) is for relief against us in an involuntary case, (ii) appoints a custodian for us or for all or substantially all of our property or (iii) orders our liquidation, and the order or decree remains unstayed and in effect for 60 days; or

an appointment of a custodian for a Material Subsidiary.
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A Material Subsidiary means Sterling National Bank or any successor thereof or any of our subsidiaries that is a depository institution and that has consolidated assets equal to 80% or more of our consolidated assets.
If any of the foregoing occurs and is continuing, the principal, premium (if any) and interest in respect of the Notes shall automatically, and without any declaration or other action on the part of the Trustee or any Holder, become immediately due and payable.
The Notes and Indenture provide for a limited number of other events of default, which do not permit acceleration of the payment of principal, premium (if any) and interest in respect of the Notes, including:

our default in the payment of any interest upon the Notes, when such interest becomes due and payable, and continuance of such default for a period of 30 days;

our default in the payment of the principal of   (or premium, if any on) the Notes with respect to any of the Notes when due, either at maturity, upon redemption, by declaration or otherwise; or

our default in the performance, or breach, of any covenant or agreement in the Indenture applicable to us, and continuance of such default or breach for a period of 90 days after there has been given, by registered or certified mail, to us by the Trustee or to us and the Trustee by the holders of at least 25% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding Notes a written notice specifying such default or breach and requiring it to be remedied and stating that such notice is a “Notice of Default” under the Indenture.
There is no right of acceleration in the case of a default in the payment of principal of or interest on the Notes or in our nonperformance of any other obligation under the Notes or the Indenture.
If we default in our obligation to pay any interest on the Notes when due and payable and such default continues for a period of 30 days, or if we default in our obligation to pay the principal of   (or premium, if any) with respect to any of the Notes when due, either at maturity, upon redemption, by declaration or otherwise, or if we breach any covenant or agreement contained in the Indenture and such breach continues for a period of 90 days after the date on which written notice specifying such failure and requiring us to remedy the same shall have been given to us, then the Trustee may, subject to certain limitations and conditions, seek to enforce its rights and the rights of the holders of Notes of the performance of any covenant or agreement in the Indenture.
The Indenture provides that the Trustee will be under no obligation to exercise any of its rights or powers under the Indenture at the request or direction of any of the holders of Notes unless such holders shall have offered to the Trustee indemnity or security satisfactory to it against the costs, expenses and liabilities which may be incurred by it in complying with such request or direction.
Subject to certain provisions, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding Notes will have the right to direct the time, method, and place of conducting any proceeding for any remedy available to the Trustee or exercising any trust or power conferred on the Trustee with respect to the Notes. However, the Trustee may refuse to follow any direction that conflicts with law or the Indenture or that may involve the Trustee in personal liability. In addition, the Trustee may take any other action it deems proper that is not inconsistent with any such direction received from the holders of the Notes.
No holder of Notes will have any right to institute any proceeding, judicial or otherwise, with respect to the Indenture, or for the appointment of a receiver or trustee, or for any other remedy under the Indenture, unless:

such holder has previously given written notice to the Trustee of a continuing event of default with respect to the Notes;

the holders of not less than 25% in aggregate principal amount of the outstanding Notes have made written request to the Trustee to institute proceedings in respect of such event of default in its own name as Trustee under the Indenture;

such holder or holders have offered to the Trustee reasonable security and indemnity satisfactory to the Trustee against the costs, expenses and liabilities to be incurred in compliance with such request;
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the Trustee for 60 days after its receipt of such notice, request and offer of reasonable security and indemnity has failed to institute any such proceeding; and

no direction inconsistent with such written request has been given to the Trustee during such 60-day period by the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding Notes.
In any event, the Indenture provides that no one or more of such holders shall have any right in any manner whatever by virtue of, or by availing of, any provision of the Indenture to affect, disturb or prejudice the rights of any other of such holders, or to obtain or to seek to obtain priority or preference over any other of such holders or to enforce any right under the Indenture, except in the manner provided in the Indenture and for the equal and ratable benefit of all holders of Notes.
The Indenture requires the Trustee to notify the holders of the Notes regarding the existence of any default actually known to the Trustee, unless the default has been cured or waived. In addition, in the case of a default in payment of principal of or interest on any Note, the Trustee may withhold notice of a default if and so long as the Trustee and/or responsible officers, the board of directors or certain committees of the board of directors in good faith determines that withholding the notice is in the interests of the holders of the Notes. For purposes of these requirements, a “default” means any event which is, or after notice or lapse of time or both would become, an event of default under the Indenture with respect to the Notes.
We are required to deliver to the Trustee, within 120 days after the end of our fiscal year, commencing in the year during which the Notes are issued under an Indenture, a written statement from our applicable officers regarding whether we have fulfilled all of our obligations under the Indenture throughout the year and specifying any known default and its status.
Modification and Waiver
The Indenture provides that we and the Trustee may modify or amend the Indenture with, or, in certain cases, without the consent of the holders of a majority in principal amount of outstanding Notes; provided, that any modification or amendment may not, without the consent of the holder of each outstanding Note affected thereby:

change the stated maturity date of the principal of   (or premium, if any), or any installment of principal or interest on, the Notes;

reduce the principal amount thereof or the rate or amount of interest thereon;

reduce the percentage in principal amount of any outstanding Notes, the consent of whose holders is required to modify or amend the Indenture, for any supplemental indenture, or for any waiver of compliance with certain provisions of the Indenture or certain defaults and the consequences thereof under the Indenture;

adversely affect any right to convert or exchange the Notes into any other security, or alter the method of computation of interest;

change the Company’s obligation to maintain an office or agency for payment of the Notes and the other matters specified in the Indenture; or

impair the right to institute suit for the enforcement of any payment of principal of, premium, if any, or interest on the Notes;

modify the Base Indenture with respect to the subordination of the Notes in a manner adverse to the holders of the Notes; or

modify any of the provisions of the Indenture relating to the execution of supplemental indentures with the consent of holders of the Notes which are discussed herein or modify any provisions relating to the waiver by holders of the Notes of past defaults and covenants, except to increase any required percentage or to provide that other provisions of the Indenture cannot be modified or waived without the consent of the holder of each outstanding Note affected thereby.
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In addition, the holders of a majority in principal amount of the outstanding Notes may, on behalf of all holders of Notes, waive compliance by us with certain terms, conditions and provisions of the Indenture, as well as any past default and/or the consequences of default, other than any default in the payment of principal or interest or any breach in respect of a covenant or provision that cannot be modified or amended without the consent of the holder of each outstanding Note.
In addition, we and the Trustee may modify and amend the Indenture without the consent of any holders of Notes for any of the following purposes:

to evidence the succession of another person to Sterling as obligor under the Indenture;

to add to the covenants of Sterling or events of defaults for the benefit of the holders of the Notes or to surrender any right or power conferred upon Sterling in the Indenture;

to provide for uncertificated securities;

to establish the form or terms of the Notes and any related coupons;

to evidence the acceptance of appointment by a successor trustee;

to cure any ambiguity or correct any defect or inconsistency in the Indenture;

to add to, change or eliminate any provisions of the Indenture, if the addition, change or elimination becomes effective only when there are no debt securities outstanding of any series created prior to the change or elimination that are entitled to the benefit of the changed or eliminated provision;

supplement any provisions of the Indenture necessary to permit or facilitate the defeasance and discharge of the Notes, provided that such action does not adversely affect the interests of the holders of the Notes;

to qualify the Indenture under the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, as amended (the “Trust Indenture Act”);

to make any change that does not adversely affect the legal rights under the Indenture of any holder of Notes in any material respect; or

to comply with the rules or regulations of any securities exchange or automated quotation system on which any of the Notes may be listed or traded.
Not in limitation of the foregoing, without the consent of any holders of Notes, we and the Trustee may amend or supplement the Indenture or the Notes (i) to conform the terms of the Indenture and the Notes to the description of the Notes in this prospectus supplement relating to the offering of the Notes or (ii) to implement any Three-Month Term SOFR Conventions or any benchmark transition provisions after a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred (or in anticipation thereof).
The Trustee shall be entitled to receive an officer’s certificate and opinion of counsel confirming that all conditions precedent are satisfied with respect to any supplemental indenture, that such supplemental indenture is authorized and permitted and that such supplemental indenture is the legal, valid and binding obligation of Sterling, enforceable against it in accordance with its terms.
Legal Defeasance and Covenant Defeasance
We may choose to either discharge our obligations under the Indenture and the Notes in a legal defeasance or to release ourselves from certain or all of our covenant restrictions under the Indenture and the Notes in a covenant defeasance. We may do so after we irrevocably deposit with the Trustee for the benefit of the holders of the Notes sufficient cash and/or U.S. government securities to pay the principal of (and premium, if any) and interest and any other sums due on the Maturity Date or a redemption date of the Notes. If we choose the legal defeasance option, the holders of the Notes will not be entitled to the benefits of the Indenture except for certain limited rights, including registration of transfer and exchange of Notes, replacement of lost, stolen or mutilated Notes and the right to receive payments of the principal of (and premium, if any) and interest on such Notes when such payments are due.
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We may discharge our obligations under the Indenture or release ourselves from covenant restrictions only if we meet certain requirements. Among other things, we must deliver to the Trustee an opinion of our legal counsel to the effect that holders of the Notes will not recognize income, gain or loss for federal income tax purposes as a result of such defeasance and will be subject to federal income tax on the same amount, in the same manner and at the same times, as would have been the case if such deposit and defeasance had not occurred. In the case of legal defeasance only, this opinion must be based on either a ruling received from or published by the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) or a change in the applicable federal income tax law. We may not have a default under the Indenture or the Notes on the date of deposit. The discharge may not cause the Trustee to have a conflicting interest for purposes of the Trust Indenture Act and may not result in our becoming an investment company in violation of the Investment Company Act of 1940. The discharge may not violate any of our agreements to which we are a party or by which we are bound.
Any defeasance of the Notes pursuant to the Indenture shall be subject to our obtaining the prior approval of the Federal Reserve and any additional requirements that the Federal Reserve may impose with respect to defeasance of the Notes. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if, due to a change in law, regulation or policy subsequent to the issue date of the Notes the Federal Reserve does not require that defeasance of instruments be subject to Federal Reserve approval in order for the instrument to be accorded Tier 2 capital treatment, then no such approval of the Federal Reserve will be required for such defeasance.
Satisfaction and Discharge
We may discharge our obligations under the Indenture and the Notes (except for certain surviving rights of the Trustee and our obligations in connection therewith) if: (a) all outstanding Notes and all other outstanding notes issued under the Indenture (i) have been delivered for cancellation, or (ii) (1) have become due and payable, (2) will become due and payable at their stated maturity within one year, or (3) are to be called for redemption within one year under arrangements satisfactory to the Trustee for the giving of notice and redemption by the Trustee (and each case, we have irrevocably deposited with the Trustee an amount sufficient to pay and discharge the principal of   (and premium, if any) and interest on all outstanding Notes and any other sums due on the stated maturity date or redemption date, as the case may be); (b) we have paid all other sums payable by us under the Indenture; and (c) we have delivered an officer’s certificate and opinion of counsel confirming that all conditions precedent with respect to the satisfaction and discharge of the Indenture have been satisfied.
Consolidation, Merger and Sale of Assets
The Indenture provides that we may not, in a single transaction or a series of related transactions, consolidate with or merge into any other person or sell, convey, transfer, lease or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets to any person unless:

the person formed by such consolidation or into which we are merged or the person which acquires by sale, conveyance or transfer or other disposition, or which leases, all or substantially all of our properties and assets shall be a corporation, partnership or trust, shall be organized and validly existing under the laws of the United States of America, any State thereof or the District of Columbia and shall expressly assume, by an indenture supplemental hereto, executed and delivered to the Trustee, in form satisfactory to the Trustee, the due and punctual payment of the principal of and any premium and interest on all the Notes and the performance or observance of every other covenant of the Indenture on our part to be performed or observed;

immediately after giving effect to such transaction and treating any indebtedness which becomes an obligation of Sterling or a subsidiary as a result of such transaction as having been incurred by the Sterling or such subsidiary at the time of such transaction, no Event of Default, and no event which, after notice or lapse of time or both, would become an Event of Default, shall have happened and be continuing;

if, as a result of any such consolidation or merger or such conveyance, transfer or lease, properties or assets of Sterling would become subject to a mortgage, pledge, lien, security interest or other
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encumbrance which would not be permitted by the Indenture, Sterling or such successor person, as the case may be, shall take such steps as shall be necessary effectively to secure the Notes equally and ratably with (or prior to) all indebtedness secured thereby; and

we have delivered to the Trustee an officers’ certificate and an opinion of counsel, each stating that such consolidation, merger, conveyance, transfer or lease and such supplemental indenture comply with this covenant and that all conditions precedent herein provided for relating to such transaction have been complied with.
Further Issues
If no Event of Default has occurred and is continuing with respect to the Notes, we may, from time to time, without notice to or the consent of the holders of the Notes, create and issue additional notes ranking equally with the Notes and with identical terms in all respects (or in all respects except for the offering price, the payment of interest accruing prior to the issue date of such further notes or except for the first payment of interest following the issue date of such additional notes) in order that such additional notes may be consolidated and form a single series with the Notes and have the same terms as to status, redemption or otherwise as the Notes; provided however, that a separate CUSIP number will be issued for any such additional notes unless such additional notes are fungible with the Notes for U.S. federal income tax purposes, subject to the procedures of the DTC.
The Trustee may conclusively rely upon certificates, opinions or other documents furnished to it under the Indenture and shall have no responsibility to confirm or investigate the accuracy of mathematical calculations or other facts stated therein. The Trustee shall have no responsibility for monitoring Sterling’s compliance with any of its covenants under the Indenture.
Effect of Benchmark Transition Event
Benchmark Replacement.   If the calculation agent determines that a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred on or prior to the Reference Time in respect of any determination of the Benchmark on any date, then the Benchmark Replacement will replace the then-current Benchmark for all purposes relating to the Notes during the floating rate period in respect of such determination on such date and all determinations on all subsequent dates.
Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes.   In connection with the implementation of a Benchmark Replacement, the calculation agent will have the right to make Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes from time to time.
Certain Defined Terms.   As used herein:
“Benchmark Replacement” means the Interpolated Benchmark with respect to the then-current Benchmark, plus the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment for such Benchmark; provided that if  (a) the calculation agent cannot determine the Interpolated Benchmark as of the Benchmark Replacement Date or (b) the then-current Benchmark is Three-Month Term SOFR and a Benchmark Transition Event and its related Benchmark Replacement Date have occurred with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR (in which event no Interpolated Benchmark with respect to Three-Month Term SOFR shall be determined), then
“Benchmark Replacement” means the first alternative set forth in the order below that can be determined by the calculation agent as of the Benchmark Replacement Date:
(1)
Compounded SOFR;
(2)
the sum of: (a) the alternate rate that has been selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body as the replacement for the then-current Benchmark for the applicable Corresponding Tenor and (b) the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment;
(3)
the sum of: (a) the ISDA Fallback Rate, and (b) the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment;
(4)
the sum of: (a) the alternate rate that has been selected by the calculation agent as the replacement for the then-current Benchmark for the applicable Corresponding Tenor, giving due consideration to any industry-accepted rate as a replacement for the then-current Benchmark for U.S. dollar-denominated floating rate securities at such time, and (b) the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment.
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“Benchmark Replacement Adjustment” means the first alternative set forth in the order below that can be determined by the calculation agent as of the Benchmark Replacement Date:
(1)
the spread adjustment, or method for calculating or determining such spread adjustment (which may be a positive or negative value or zero), that has been selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body for the applicable Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement;
(2)
if the applicable Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement is equivalent to the ISDA Fallback Rate, then the ISDA Fallback Adjustment; and
(3)
the spread adjustment (which may be a positive or negative value or zero) that has been selected by the calculation giving due consideration to any industry-accepted spread adjustment or method for calculating or determining such spread adjustment, for the replacement of the then-current Benchmark with the applicable Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement for U.S. dollar-denominated floating rate securities at such time.
“Benchmark Replacement Conforming Changes” means, with respect to any Benchmark Replacement, any technical, administrative or operational changes (including changes to the definition of  “interest period,” timing and frequency of determining rates with respect to each interest period and making payments of interest, rounding of amounts or tenors, and other administrative matters) that the calculation agent decides may be appropriate to reflect the adoption of such Benchmark Replacement in a manner substantially consistent with market practice (or, if the calculation agent decides that adoption of any portion of such market practice is not administratively feasible or if the calculation agent determines that no market practice for use of the Benchmark Replacement exists, in such other manner as the calculation agent determines is reasonably necessary).
“Benchmark Replacement Date” means the earliest to occur of the following events with respect to the then-current Benchmark:
(1)
in the case of clause (1) of the definition of  “Benchmark Transition Event,” the relevant Reference Time in respect of any determination;
(2)
in the case of clause (2) or (3) of the definition of  “Benchmark Transition Event,” the later of (a) the date of the public statement or publication of information referenced therein and (b) the date on which the administrator of the Benchmark permanently or indefinitely ceases to provide the Benchmark; or
(3)
in the case of clause (4) of the definition of  “Benchmark Transition Event,” the date of the public statement or publication of information referenced therein.
For the avoidance of doubt, if the event giving rise to the Benchmark Replacement Date occurs on the same day as, but earlier than, the Reference Time in respect of any determination, the Benchmark Replacement Date will be deemed to have occurred prior to the Reference Time for such determination.
“Benchmark Transition Event” means the occurrence of one or more of the following events with respect to the then-current Benchmark:
(1)
if the Benchmark is Three-Month Term SOFR, (a) the Relevant Governmental Body has not selected or recommended a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR, (b) the development of a forward-looking term rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR that has been recommended or selected by the Relevant Governmental Body is not complete or (c) we determine that the use of a forward-looking rate for a tenor of three months based on SOFR is not administratively feasible;
(2)
a public statement or publication of information by or on behalf of the administrator of the Benchmark announcing that such administrator has ceased or will cease to provide the Benchmark, permanently or indefinitely, provided that, at the time of such statement or publication, there is no successor administrator that will continue to provide the Benchmark;
(3)
a public statement or publication of information by the regulatory supervisor for the administrator of the Benchmark, the central bank for the currency of the Benchmark, an
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insolvency official with jurisdiction over the administrator for the Benchmark, a resolution authority with jurisdiction over the administrator for the Benchmark or a court or an entity with similar insolvency or resolution authority over the administrator for the Benchmark, which states that the administrator of the Benchmark has ceased or will cease to provide the Benchmark permanently or indefinitely, provided that, at the time of such statement or publication, there is no successor administrator that will continue to provide the Benchmark; or
(4)
a public statement or publication of information by the regulatory supervisor for the administrator of the Benchmark announcing that the Benchmark is no longer representative.
“Compounded SOFR” means the compounded average of SOFRs for the applicable Corresponding Tenor, with the rate, or methodology for this rate, and conventions for this rate being established by the calculation agent in accordance with:
(1)
the rate, or methodology for this rate, and conventions for this rate selected or recommended by the Relevant Governmental Body for determining compounded SOFR; provided that:
(2)
if, and to the extent that, the calculation agent determines that Compounded SOFR cannot be determined in accordance with clause (1) above, then the rate, or methodology for this rate, and conventions for this rate that have been selected by the calculation agent giving due consideration to any industry-accepted market practice for U.S. dollar-denominated floating rate securities at such time.
For the avoidance of doubt, the calculation of Compounded SOFR shall exclude the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment and the spread of      % per annum.
“Corresponding Tenor” with respect to a Benchmark Replacement means a tenor (including overnight) having approximately the same length (disregarding business day adjustment) as the applicable tenor for the then-current Benchmark.
“Interpolated Benchmark” with respect to the Benchmark means the rate determined for the Corresponding Tenor by interpolating on a linear basis between: (1) the Benchmark for the longest period (for which the Benchmark is available) that is shorter than the Corresponding Tenor, and (2) the Benchmark for the shortest period (for which the Benchmark is available) that is longer than the Corresponding Tenor.
“ISDA Definitions” means the 2006 ISDA Definitions published by the International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc. or any successor thereto, as amended or supplemented from time to time, or any successor definitional booklet for interest rate derivatives published from time to time.
“ISDA Fallback Adjustment” means the spread adjustment (which may be a positive or negative value or zero) that would apply for derivatives transactions referencing the ISDA Definitions to be determined upon the occurrence of an index cessation event with respect to the Benchmark for the applicable tenor.
“ISDA Fallback Rate” means the rate that would apply for derivatives transactions referencing the ISDA Definitions to be effective upon the occurrence of an index cessation date with respect to the Benchmark for the applicable tenor excluding the applicable ISDA Fallback Adjustment.
“Unadjusted Benchmark Replacement” means the Benchmark Replacement excluding the Benchmark Replacement Adjustment.
The terms “Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Website,” “Reference Time,” “Relevant Governmental Body,” “SOFR” and “Term SOFR” have the meanings set forth above under the heading “Interest.”
Determinations and Decisions
We and the calculation agent are expressly authorized to make certain determinations, decisions and elections under the terms of the Notes, including with respect to the use of Three-Month Term SOFR as the Benchmark for the floating rate period and under the benchmark transition provisions. Any
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determination, decision or election that may be made by us or by the calculation agent under the terms of the Notes, including any determination with respect to a tenor, rate or adjustment or of the occurrence or non-occurrence of an event, circumstance or date and any decision to take or refrain from taking any action or any selection:

will be conclusive and binding on the holders of the Notes and the Trustee absent manifest error;

if made by us, will be made in our sole discretion;

if made by the calculation agent, will be made after consultation with us, and the calculation agent will not make any such determination, decision or election to which we reasonably object; and

notwithstanding anything to the contrary in the Indenture, shall become effective without consent from the holders of the Notes or the Trustee.
If the calculation agent fails to make any determination, decision or election that it is required to make under the terms of the Notes, then we will make that determination, decision or election on the same basis as described above.
Calculation Agent
We will appoint a calculation agent for the Notes prior to the commencement of the floating rate period and will keep a record of such appointment at our principal offices, which will be available to any holder of the Notes upon request. In addition, we or an affiliate of ours may assume the duties of the calculation agent. We will act as the initial calculation agent.
Paying Agent
We may appoint one or more financial institutions to act as our paying agents, at whose designated offices the Notes in non-global form may be surrendered for payment at their maturity. We call each of those offices a paying agent. We may add, replace or terminate paying agents from time to time. We may also choose to act as our own paying agent. Initially, we have appointed the Trustee, at its principal corporate trust office at U.S. Bank National Association, 100 Wall Street, 6th Floor, New York, New York 10005, as the paying agent for the Notes. We must notify you of changes in the paying agents.
Governing Law
The Indenture provides that the Notes will be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New York.
Tier 2 Capital
The Notes are intended to qualify as Tier 2 capital under the capital adequacy rules established by the Federal Reserve for bank holding companies, as the same may be amended or supplemented from time to time. The rules set forth specific criteria for instruments to qualify as Tier 2 capital. Among other things, the Notes must:

be unsecured;

have a minimum original maturity of at least five years;

be subordinated to our depositors and general creditors;

not contain provisions permitting the holders of the Notes to accelerate payment of principal prior to maturity except in the event of receivership, insolvency, liquidation or similar proceedings of a bank holding company or a major bank subsidiary;

only be callable after a minimum of five years following issuance, except upon the occurrence of a “Tax Event” or a “Tier 2 Capital Event” (as such terms are defined in the Indenture) or if we are required to register as an investment company pursuant to the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended, and, in any case, subject to obtaining the prior approval of the Federal Reserve to the extent such approval is then required under the rules of the Federal Reserve; and
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unless the Federal Reserve authorizes us to do otherwise in writing, not be redeemed or repurchased unless they are replaced with an equivalent amount of other Tier 2 capital instruments or we can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Federal Reserve that following redemption, we will continue to hold capital commensurate with our risk.
Clearance and Settlement
The Notes will be represented by one or more global certificates, which we refer to individually as a Global Note and collectively as the Global Notes, deposited with or on behalf of DTC and registered in the name of Cede & Co. or another nominee of DTC. The Notes will be available for purchase in minimum denominations of  $1,000 and integral multiples of  $1,000 in excess thereof in book-entry form only. So long as DTC or any successor depositary, which we refer to collectively as the “Depositary,” or its nominee is the registered owner of the Global Notes, the Depositary, or such nominee, as the case may be, will be considered to be the sole owner or holder of the Notes for all purposes of the Indenture. Beneficial interests in the Global Notes will be represented through book-entry accounts of financial institutions acting on behalf of beneficial owners as direct and indirect participants in DTC. Investors may not elect to receive a certificate representing their Notes while the Notes are held by a Depositary. Investors may elect to hold interests in the Global Notes through DTC either directly if they are participants in DTC or indirectly through organizations that are participants in DTC.
The laws of some jurisdictions may require that some purchasers of securities take physical delivery of securities in definitive form. These laws may impair the ability to transfer beneficial interests in the Notes, so long as the corresponding securities are represented by Global Notes.
DTC has advised us that it is a limited-purpose trust company organized under the New York Banking Law, a “banking organization” within the meaning of the New York Banking Law, a member of the Federal Reserve System, a “clearing corporation” within the meaning of the New York Uniform Commercial Code and a “clearing agency” registered pursuant to the provisions of Section 17A of the Exchange Act. DTC holds securities that its direct participants deposit with DTC. DTC also facilitates the post-trade settlement among participants of sales and other securities transactions in deposited securities, through electronic computerized book-entry transfers and pledges between participants’ accounts. This eliminates the need for physical movement of securities certificates. Direct participants include both U.S. and non-U.S. securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies, clearing corporations and certain other organizations. DTC is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, which, in turn, is owned by a number of direct participants of DTC. Access to the DTC system is also available to others, referred to as indirect participants, such as both U.S. and non-U.S. securities brokers and dealers, banks, trust companies and clearing corporations that clear through or maintain a direct or indirect custodial relationship with a direct participant. The rules applicable to DTC and its participants are on file with the SEC.
Purchases of securities under the DTC system must be made by or through direct participants, which will receive a credit for the securities on DTC’s records. The ownership interest of each beneficial owner of securities will be recorded on the direct or indirect participants’ records. Beneficial owners will not receive written confirmation from DTC of their purchase. Beneficial owners are, however, expected to receive written confirmations providing details of the transaction, as well as periodic statements of their holdings, from the direct or indirect participant through which the beneficial owner entered into the transaction. Under a book-entry format, holders may experience some delay in their receipt of payments, as such payments will be forwarded by the Depositary to Cede & Co., as nominee for DTC. DTC will forward the payments to its participants, who will then forward them to indirect participants or holders. Beneficial owners of securities other than DTC or its nominees will not be recognized by the relevant registrar, transfer agent, paying agent or trustee as registered holders of the securities entitled to the benefits of the Indenture. Beneficial owners that are not participants will be permitted to exercise their rights only indirectly through and according to the procedures of participants and, if applicable, indirect participants.
To facilitate subsequent transfers, all securities deposited by direct participants with DTC are registered in the name of DTC’s partnership nominee, Cede & Co., or such other name as may be requested by an authorized representative of DTC. The deposit of securities with DTC and their registration in the name of Cede & Co. or such other DTC nominee do not effect any change in beneficial ownership. DTC
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has no knowledge of the actual beneficial owners of the securities; DTC’s records reflect only the identity of the direct participants to whose accounts the securities are credited, which may or may not be the beneficial owners. The direct and indirect participants will remain responsible for keeping account of their holdings on behalf of their customers.
Conveyance of redemption notices and other communications by DTC to direct participants, by direct participants to indirect participants, and by direct and indirect participants to beneficial owners will be governed by arrangements among them, subject to any statutory or regulatory requirements as may be in effect from time to time. If less than all of the securities of any class are being redeemed, then DTC will determine the amount of the interest of each direct participant to be redeemed in accordance with its then current procedures.
Neither DTC nor Cede & Co. (nor any other DTC nominee) will consent or vote with respect to any securities unless authorized by a direct participant in accordance with DTC’s procedures. Under its usual procedures, DTC mails an omnibus proxy to the issuer as soon as possible after the record date. The omnibus proxy assigns Cede & Co.’s consenting or voting rights to those direct participants to whose accounts securities are credited on the record date (identified in a listing attached to the omnibus proxy).
DTC may discontinue providing its services as securities Depositary with respect to the Notes at any time by giving reasonable notice to the issuer or its agent. Under these circumstances, in the event that a successor securities Depositary is not obtained, certificates for the Notes are required to be printed and delivered. We may decide to discontinue the use of the system of book-entry-only transfers through DTC (or a successor securities Depositary). In that event, certificates for the Notes will be printed and delivered to DTC.
As long as DTC or its nominee is the registered owner of the Global Notes, DTC or its nominee, as the case may be, will be considered the sole owner and holder of the Global Notes and all securities represented by these certificates for all purposes under the instruments governing the rights and obligations of holders of such securities. Except in the limited circumstances referred to above, owners of beneficial interests in Global Notes:

will not be entitled to have such global security certificates or the securities represented by these certificates registered in their names;

will not receive or be entitled to receive physical delivery of securities certificates in exchange for beneficial interests in global security certificates; and

will not be considered to be owners or holders of the global security certificates or any securities represented by these certificates for any purpose under the instruments governing the rights and obligations of holders of such securities.
All redemption proceeds, distributions and interest payments on the securities represented by the Global Notes and all transfers and deliveries of such securities will be made to DTC or its nominee, as the case may be, as the registered holder of the securities. DTC’s practice is to credit direct participants’ accounts upon DTC’s receipt of funds and corresponding detail information from the issuer or its agent, on the payable date in accordance with their respective holdings shown on DTC’s records. Payments by participants to beneficial owners will be governed by standing instructions and customary practices, as is the case with securities held for the accounts of customers in bearer form or registered in “street name,” and will be the responsibility of that participant and not of DTC, the Depositary, the issuer, the Trustee or any of their agents, subject to any statutory or regulatory requirements as may be in effect from time to time. Payment of redemption proceeds, distributions and interest payments to Cede & Co. (or such other nominee as may be requested by an authorized representative of DTC) is the responsibility of the issuer or its agent, disbursement of such payments to direct participants will be the responsibility of DTC, and disbursement of such payments to the beneficial owners will be the responsibility of direct and indirect participants.
Ownership of beneficial interests in the Global Notes will be limited to participants or persons that may hold beneficial interests through institutions that have accounts with DTC or its nominee. Ownership of beneficial interests in Global Notes will be shown only on, and the transfer of those ownership interests
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will be effected only through, records maintained by DTC or its nominee, with respect to participants’ interests, or any participant, with respect to interests of persons held by the participant on their behalf. Payments, transfers, deliveries, exchanges, redemptions and other matters relating to beneficial interests in Global Notes may be subject to various policies and procedures adopted by DTC from time to time. None of Sterling, the Trustee or any agent for any of them will have any responsibility or liability for any aspect of DTC’s or any direct or indirect participant’s records relating to, or for payments made on account of, beneficial interests in Global Notes, or for maintaining, supervising or reviewing any of DTC’s records or any direct or indirect participant’s records relating to these beneficial ownership interests.
Although DTC has agreed to the foregoing procedures in order to facilitate transfer of interests in the Global Notes among participants, DTC is under no obligation to perform or continue to perform these procedures, and these procedures may be discontinued at any time. Neither Sterling nor the Trustee will have any responsibility for the performance by DTC or its direct participants or indirect participants under the rules and procedures governing DTC.
Because DTC can act only on behalf of direct participants, who in turn act only on behalf of direct or indirect participants, and certain banks, trust companies and other persons approved by it, the ability of a beneficial owner of securities to pledge them to persons or entities that do not participate in the DTC system may be limited due to the unavailability of physical certificates for the securities.
DTC has advised us that it will take any action permitted to be taken by a registered holder of any securities under the Indenture, only at the direction of one or more participants to whose accounts with DTC the relevant securities are credited.
The information in this section concerning DTC and its book-entry system has been obtained from sources that we believe to be accurate, but we assume no responsibility for the accuracy thereof.
Trustee
U.S. Bank National Association, will act as Trustee under the Indenture.
Notices
Any notices required to be given to the holders of the Notes will be given to the Trustee. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Indenture or any Note, where the Indenture or any Note provides for notice of any event or any other communication (including any notice of redemption or repurchase) to a holder of a Note (whether by mail or otherwise), such notice shall be sufficiently given if given to DTC (or its designee) pursuant to the applicable procedures from DTC or its designee, including by electronic mail in accordance with accepted practices at DTC.
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CERTAIN ERISA CONSIDERATIONS
The following is a summary of certain considerations associated with the purchase and holding of the Notes by (i) employee benefit plans subject to Title I of the U.S. Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended, which we refer to as ERISA, (ii) plans, individual retirement accounts and other arrangements subject to Section 4975 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, which we refer to as the “Code”, (iii) plans subject to any federal, state, local, non-U.S. or other laws or regulations that are similar to ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code, which we collectively refer to as Similar Laws, and (iii) entities whose underlying assets are considered to include “plan assets” of such employee benefit plans, plans or arrangements (each of which we call a “Plan”).
Each fiduciary of a Plan should consider the fiduciary standards of ERISA or any applicable similar laws in the context of the Plan’s particular circumstances before authorizing an investment in the Notes. Accordingly, among other factors, the fiduciary should consider whether the investment would satisfy the prudence and diversification requirements of ERISA or any applicable Similar Laws and would be consistent with the documents and instruments governing the Plan.
Section 406 of ERISA and Section 4975 of the Code prohibit Plans subject to such provisions, which we call ERISA Plans, from engaging in certain transactions involving “plan assets” with persons that are “parties in interest” under ERISA or “disqualified persons” under Section 4975 of the Code with respect to the ERISA Plans. A violation of these “prohibited transaction” rules may result in an excise tax or other liabilities under ERISA and/or Section 4975 of the Code for those persons, unless exemptive relief is available under an applicable statutory or administrative exemption. Employee benefit plans that are governmental plans (as defined in Section 3(32) of ERISA), certain church plans (as defined in Section 3(33) of ERISA) and non-U.S. plans (as described in Section 4(b)(4) of ERISA) are not subject to the requirements of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code, but may be subject to Similar Laws.
Prohibited transactions within the meaning of Section 406 of ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code could arise if the Notes were acquired by an ERISA Plan with respect to which any underwriter or we or any of our affiliates are a party in interest or a disqualified person. For example, if any underwriter or we are a party in interest or disqualified person with respect to an investing ERISA Plan (either directly or, in our case, by reason of our ownership of our subsidiaries), the purchase of any Notes by an ERISA Plan could result in a sale or exchange that is prohibited by Section 406(a)(1)(A) of ERISA and Section 4975(c)(1)(A) of the Code, unless exemptive relief were available under an applicable exemption (see below).
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued prohibited transaction class exemptions, or PTCEs, that may provide exemptive relief for direct or indirect prohibited transactions resulting from the purchase, holding or disposition of the Notes. Those class exemptions include:

PTCE 96-23 — for certain transactions determined by in-house asset managers;

PTCE 95-60 — for certain transactions involving insurance company general accounts;

PTCE 91-38 — for certain transactions involving bank collective investment funds;

PTCE 90-1 — for certain transactions involving insurance company separate accounts; and

PTCE 84-14 — for certain transactions determined by independent qualified professional asset managers.
In addition, ERISA Section 408(b)(17) and Section 4975(d)(20) of the Code provides an exemption for transactions between a Plan and a party in interest or disqualified person, provided that the party in interest is not a fiduciary (or an affiliate) who has or exercises any discretionary authority or control with respect to the investment of the Plan assets involved in the transaction or renders investment advice with respect to those assets, and is a party in interest or disqualified person solely by reason of being a service provider to the Plan or having a relationship to a service provider to the Plan and provided, further that the Plan pays no more than adequate consideration in connection with the transaction (the so-called “service provider exemption”). No assurance can be made that all of the conditions of any such exemptions will be satisfied.
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Because of the possibility that direct or indirect prohibited transactions or violations of similar laws could occur as a result of the purchase, holding or disposition of the Notes by a Plan, the Notes may not be purchased by any Plan, or any person investing the assets of any Plan, unless its purchase, holding and disposition of the Notes will not constitute or result in a non-exempt prohibited transaction under ERISA or Section 4975 of the Code or a violation of any Similar Laws. Any purchaser or holder of the Notes or any interest in the Notes will be deemed to have represented by its purchase and holding of the Notes that either:

it is not a Plan and is not purchasing the Notes or interest in the Notes on behalf of or with the assets of any Plan; or

its purchase, holding and disposition of the Notes or interest in the Notes will not constitute or result in a non-exempt prohibited transaction under ERISA or the Code or a violation of any similar laws.
Due to the complexity of these rules and the penalties imposed upon persons involved in non-exempt prohibited transactions, it is important that any person considering the purchase of the Notes on behalf of or with the assets of any Plan consult with its counsel regarding the consequences under ERISA, the Code and any applicable Similar Laws of the acquisition, ownership and disposition of the Notes, whether any exemption would be applicable, and whether all conditions of such exemption have been satisfied such that the acquisition and holding of the Notes by the Plan are entitled to full exemptive relief thereunder.
Nothing herein shall be construed as, and the sale of the Notes to a Plan is in no respect, a representation by us or the underwriters that any investment in the Notes would meet any or all of the relevant legal requirements with respect to investment by, or is appropriate for, Plans generally or any particular Plan. The foregoing discussion is merely a summary and should not be construed as legal advice or as complete in all relevant respects.
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MATERIAL U.S. FEDERAL INCOME TAX CONSIDERATIONS
This section describes the material U.S. federal income tax considerations related to the acquisition, ownership and disposition of the Notes we are offering. It is not a complete analysis of all the potential tax considerations relating to the Notes. This summary is based upon the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code, Treasury Regulations promulgated under the Code, and currently effective administrative rulings and judicial decisions. These authorities may be changed, perhaps with retroactive effect, so as to result in U.S. federal income tax consequences different from those set forth below.
This summary is limited to beneficial owners (referred to in this summary as holders) of the Notes that purchase the Notes upon their initial issuance at their “initial offering price” (i.e., the first price at which a substantial amount of the Notes is sold for cash to investors (excluding sales to bond houses, brokers or similar persons or organizations acting in the capacity as underwriters, placement agents or wholesalers)) and that will hold the Notes as capital assets within the meaning of Section 1221 of the Code for U.S. federal income tax purposes. This summary does not address the tax considerations arising under the laws of any foreign, state or local jurisdiction. In addition, this discussion does not address all U.S. federal income tax considerations that may be applicable to holders’ particular circumstances or to holders that may be subject to special tax rules, such as, for example:

holders subject to the alternative minimum tax;

banks, insurance companies, or other financial institutions;

real estate investment trusts;

controlled foreign corporations;

passive foreign investment companies and regulated investment companies and shareholders of such corporations;

tax-exempt organizations;

qualified retirement plans, individual retirement accounts and other deferred compensation arrangements;

governmental entities;

brokers and dealers in securities or commodities;

certain U.S. expatriates;

traders in securities that elect to use a mark-to-market method of accounting for their securities holdings;

U.S. holders (as defined below) whose functional currency is not the U.S. dollar;

persons that will hold the Notes as a position in a hedging transaction, wash sale, straddle, conversion transaction or other risk reduction or synthetic transaction; and

entities or arrangements classified as partnerships or S corporations for U.S. federal income tax purposes or other pass-through entities, or investors in such entities.
If an entity or arrangement classified as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes holds the Notes, the tax treatment of a partner in the partnership will generally depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. If you are an entity or arrangement classified as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes that will hold Notes or a partner of such a partnership, you are urged to consult your tax advisor regarding the tax consequences of holding the Notes to you.
This summary of certain U.S. federal income tax considerations is for general information only and is not tax advice. You are urged to consult your tax advisor with respect to the application of U.S. federal income tax laws to your particular situation as well as any tax considerations arising under other U.S. federal tax laws (such as the estate or gift tax laws) or under the laws of any state, local, foreign or other taxing jurisdiction or under any applicable tax treaty.
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U.S. Holders
This subsection describes the tax considerations for a “U.S. holder.” You are a “U.S. holder” if you are a beneficial owner of a Note and you are:

an individual citizen or resident of the United States;

a corporation (or other entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created or organized in or under the laws of the United States, any state thereof, or the District of Columbia;

an estate the income of which is subject to U.S. federal income tax regardless of its source; or

a trust that (1) is subject to the supervision of a court within the United States if one or more “United States persons” (as defined in the Code) have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust, or (2) has a valid election in effect under applicable Treasury Regulations to be treated as a “United States person.”
Payments of interest and original discount on the Notes.   The Notes will initially bear interest at a fixed annual rate. From and including           , 2024, the Notes will bear interest at the Benchmark Rate, which is expected to be the Three-Month Term SOFR, plus a fixed spread. Under applicable Treasury Regulations, a debt instrument will qualify as a “variable rate debt instrument” if  (a) its issue price does not exceed the total noncontingent principal payments due under the debt instrument by more than a specified de minimis amount and (b) the debt instrument provides for stated interest, paid or compounded at least annually, at current values of a single fixed rate and one or more qualified floating rates. A “qualified floating rate” is any variable rate where variations in the value of such rate can reasonably be expected to measure contemporaneous variations in the cost of newly borrowed funds in the currency in which the debt instrument is denominated. We expect that the Benchmark Rate plus a fixed spread, whether the Benchmark Rate Three-Month Term SOFR or another rate determined in accordance with this prospectus supplement, will meet the qualifications for being a qualified floating rate and the Notes will meet the requirements for being variable rate debt instruments. We intend to treat the Notes as variable rate debt instruments for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Under this characterization, payments treated as qualified stated interest on the Notes generally will be taxable to U.S. holders as ordinary interest income at the time such interest payments are accrued or received, depending on the U.S. holder’s regular method of accounting for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Qualified stated interest generally means stated interest that is unconditionally payable in cash at least annually at a single fixed rate, but as discussed below, special rules are applicable to a variable rate debt instrument.
For U.S. federal income tax purposes, original issue discount is the excess of the stated redemption price at maturity of a debt instrument over its issue price if such excess equals or exceeds a specified de minimis amount (generally 1/4 of 1% of the debt instrument’s stated redemption price at maturity multiplied by the number of complete years to maturity of such debt instrument). The issue price of an issue of debt instruments equals the first price at which a substantial amount of the debt instruments has been sold (ignoring sales to bond houses, brokers or similar persons or organizations acting in the capacity of underwriters, placement agents or wholesalers). The stated redemption price at maturity of a debt instrument is the sum of all payments provided by the debt instrument other than payments of qualified stated interest. A U.S. holder (regardless of its method of tax accounting) will be required to include original issue discount in ordinary income as it accrues in accordance with a constant yield method based on a compounding of interest. Any amounts included in income as original issue discount with respect to a Note will increase a U.S. holder’s adjusted basis in the Note.
Under applicable Treasury Regulations, to determine the amount of qualified stated interest and original issue discount in respect of a variable rate debt instrument, an equivalent fixed rate debt instrument must be constructed. The equivalent fixed rate debt instrument is a hypothetical instrument that has terms that are identical to those of the Notes, except that the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument provides for fixed rate substitutes in lieu of the actual rates on the Notes. The equivalent fixed rate debt instrument of a variable rate debt instrument, such as the Notes, that has an initial fixed rate followed by one or more qualified floating rates is constructed in the following fashion: (i) first, the initial fixed rate is replaced with a qualified floating rate such that the fair market value of the Notes as of the Notes’ issue date would be
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approximately the same as the fair market value of an otherwise identical debt instrument that provides for the replacement qualified floating rate rather than the fixed rate, and (ii) second, each floating rate (including the floating rate determined under (i) above) is converted into a fixed rate substitute (which, in each case, generally will be the value of each floating rate as of the issue date of the Notes).
When the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument has been constructed pursuant to the foregoing rules, the amount of qualified stated interest and original issue discount, if any, are determined for the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument by applying the general original issue discount rules to the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument, and a U.S. holder of the Notes will account for such original issue discount, if any, and qualified stated interest as if the U.S. holder held the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument. For each accrual period, appropriate adjustments will be made to the amount of qualified state interest or original issue discount assumed to have been accrued or paid with respect to the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument in the event that such amounts differ from the actual amount of interest accrued or paid on the Notes during the accrual period.
The Treasury Regulations provide special rules for determining the yield and maturity of a debt instrument, such as the Notes, that provide an issuer with the option to redeem the instrument at specified times. The Treasury Regulations generally deem an issuer to exercise a redemption option in a manner that minimizes the yield on the debt instrument for purposes of determining whether a debt instrument is issued with original issue discount. Under the terms of the Notes, if the initial fixed rate substitute on the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument (as determined in the manner described above) is greater than the fixed rate substitute of the floating rate (as determined in the manner described above), the Notes will be presumed not to be redeemed and original issue discount with respect to the Notes will be calculated as described above. If, however, the initial fixed rate substitute on the equivalent fixed rate debt instrument (as determined in the manner described above) is less than the fixed rate substitute of the floating rate (as determined in the manner described above), the yield on the Notes will be minimized if the Notes are redeemed immediately before the change in the interest rate on           , 2024, and, therefore, the Notes will be treated as maturing on such date for original issue discount purposes. This assumption is made solely for purposes of determining whether the Notes are issued with original issue discount for U.S. federal income tax purposes and is not an indication of our intention to redeem or not to redeem the Notes at any time. If, contrary to this presumption, the Notes are not redeemed prior to the change in the interest rate on           , 2024, then, solely for original issue discount purposes, the Notes will be deemed to be reissued at their adjusted issue price on the date that they are not redeemed. This deemed reissuance should not result in taxable gain or loss to U.S. holders.
Based on current market conditions and the manner in which the interest rates on the Notes are determined, we expect that when the foregoing calculations are completed, the Notes will be presumed to remain outstanding until maturity and have no original issue discount or will have de minimis original issue discount that can be disregarded and that, therefore, all interest payable on the Notes will be treated as qualified stated interest.
Sale, exchange, retirement or other taxable disposition.   Upon the sale, exchange, retirement or other taxable disposition of a Note, a U.S. holder will recognize taxable gain or loss equal to the difference between the amount realized on such disposition (except to the extent any amount realized is attributable to accrued but unpaid interest, which will be treated as a payment of interest) and the U.S. holder’s adjusted tax basis in the Note. A U.S. holder’s adjusted tax basis in a Note generally will be its cost. Gain or loss recognized on the disposition of a Note generally will be capital gain or loss, and will be long-term capital gain or loss if, at the time of the disposition, the U.S. holder’s holding period for the Note is more than one year. Long-term capital gains of non-corporate taxpayers are generally eligible for preferential rates of taxation. The deductibility of capital losses is subject to certain limitations.
Tax on net investment income.   Certain U.S. holders who are individuals, estates or trusts are subject to a 3.8% tax on all or a portion of their net investment income. For these purposes, “net investment income” generally includes interest (including interest paid or accrued with respect to the Notes), dividends, annuities, royalties, rents, net gain attributable to the disposition of property not held in a trade or business (including net gain from the sale, exchange, redemption, retirement or other taxable disposition of the
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Notes and certain other income), but will be reduced by certain permitted deductions properly allocated to such income or net gain. U.S. holders should consult their own tax advisors regarding the implications of the net investment income tax in their particular circumstances.
Information reporting and backup withholding.   In general, we (or our agents) and other payors are required to report to the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, all payments of principal of and interest on the Notes. In addition, we (or our agents) and other payors are required to report to the IRS any payment of proceeds of the sale of the Notes before maturity within the United States. Additionally, backup withholding will generally apply to any payments if the U.S. holder fails to provide a correct taxpayer identification number to the payor. Backup withholding will also apply if a U.S. holder is notified by the IRS that it has failed to report payment of interest and dividends properly and the IRS has notified the payor that the U.S. holder is subject to backup withholding. Backup withholding is not an additional tax. The amount of any backup withholding from a payment to a U.S. holder may be allowed as a credit against such U.S. holder's U.S. federal income tax liability and may entitle such U.S. holder to a refund, provided the required information is furnished to the IRS in a timely manner.
Non-U.S. Holders
This subsection describes the tax considerations for a “non-U.S. holder.” You are a “non-U.S. holder” if you are the beneficial owner of a Note that is neither a U.S. holder nor an entity or arrangement classified as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes.
Payments of interest.   Subject to the discussion under “— Information reporting and backup withholding” and “— FATCA” below, payments of principal and interest on the Notes to a non-U.S. holder generally will be exempt from U.S. federal income withholding tax if, in the case of the payments of interest:

the non-U.S. holder does not own, actually or constructively, 10% or more of the combined voting power of all classes of our stock entitled to vote within the meaning of section 871(h)(3) of the Code and the Treasury Regulations thereunder;

the non-U.S. holder is not a “controlled foreign corporation” for U.S. federal income tax purposes that is related to us through stock ownership;

the non-U.S. holder is not a bank that receives such interest in a transaction described in section 881(c)(3)(A) of the Code; and

the non-U.S. holder certifies under penalties of perjury on IRS Form W-8BEN or, if applicable, W-8BEN-E or a suitable substitute form that it is not a United States person (as defined in the Code) and provides their name, address and U.S. taxpayer identification number, if any.
If a non-U.S. holder cannot satisfy the requirements described above, payments of interest made to you on the Notes will be subject to 30% U.S. federal withholding tax, unless the non-U.S. holder provides us either with (1)  a properly executed IRS Form W-8BEN or, if applicable, W-8BEN-E (or successor form) establishing an exemption from (or a reduction of) withholding under the benefit of an applicable income tax treaty or (2)  a properly executed IRS Form W-8ECI (or successor form) certifying that interest paid on the Notes is not subject to withholding tax because the interest is effectively connected with the non-U.S. holder’s conduct of a trade or business in the United States (as discussed under “— Income or gain effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business” below).
Sale, exchange or other taxable disposition.   Subject to the discussion under “— Information reporting and backup withholding” and “— FATCA” below, a non-U.S. holder generally will not be subject to U.S. federal income or withholding tax on any gain realized on the sale, exchange, redemption, retirement or other taxable disposition of a Note unless:

the gain is effectively connected with the non-U.S. holder’s conduct of a trade or business in the United States (and, if an income tax treaty applies, is attributable to a permanent establishment in the United States); or

the non-U.S. holder is an individual who has been present in the United States for 183 days or more in the taxable year of disposition and certain other requirements are met.
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If a non-U.S. holder is described in the first bullet point, see “— Income or gain effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business” below. If a non-U.S. holder is described in the second bullet point, the non-U.S. holder will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax at a rate of 30% on the amount by which its capital gains allocable to U.S. sources, including gain from such disposition, exceed any capital losses allocable to U.S. sources, except as otherwise required by an applicable income tax treaty.
To the extent that the amount realized on a sale, redemption, exchange, retirement or other taxable disposition of the Notes is attributable to accrued but unpaid interest on the Notes, this amount generally will be treated in the same manner as described in “— Payments of interest” above.
Income or gain effectively connected with a U.S. trade or business.   If a non-U.S. holder is engaged in the conduct of a trade or business in the United States and interest on a Note or gain recognized from the sale, exchange, redemption, retirement or other taxable disposition of a Note is effectively connected with the conduct of that trade or business, the non-U.S. holder will generally be subject to U.S. federal income tax (but generally not the 30% U.S. federal withholding tax on interest) on that interest and on gain on a net income basis in the same manner as if the non-U.S. holder were a U.S. holder. The non-U.S. holder will be required to certify that such interest or gain is effectively connected with the non-U.S. holder’s conduct of a U.S. trade or business by providing a properly executed IRS Form W-8ECI or appropriate substitute form to the applicable withholding agent. If the non-U.S. holder is eligible for the benefits of an income tax treaty between the United States and its country of residence, any effectively connected income or gain generally will be subject to U.S. federal income tax only if it is also attributable to a permanent establishment or fixed base maintained by the non-U.S. holder in the United States. In addition, if the non-U.S. holder is a foreign corporation, the non-U.S. holder may be subject to an additional branch profits tax equal to 30% (or a lower applicable income tax treaty rate) of its earnings and profits for the taxable year, subject to adjustments, that are effectively connected with its conduct of a trade or business in the United States.
Information reporting and backup withholding.   We (or our agents) and other payors must report annually to the IRS and to a non-U.S. holder the amount of interest paid to such non-U.S. holder and the tax withheld from those payments. These reporting requirements apply regardless of whether U.S. withholding tax on such payments was reduced or eliminated by any applicable tax treaty or otherwise. Copies of the information returns reporting those payments and the amounts withheld may also be made available to the tax authorities in the country where a non-U.S. holder is a resident under the provisions of an applicable income tax treaty or agreement.
Under some circumstances, U.S. Treasury regulations require backup withholding and additional information reporting on payments of interest and other “reportable payments.” Such backup withholding and additional information reporting will not apply to payments on the Notes made by us (or our agents) and other payors to a non-U.S. holder if the certification described under “— Payments of interest” above is received from the non-U.S. holder.
Backup withholding and information reporting generally will not apply to payments of proceeds from the sale or other disposition of a Note made to a non-U.S. holder by or through the foreign office of a broker. However, information reporting requirements, and possibly backup withholding, will apply if such broker is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, a United States person (as defined in the Code) or has certain other enumerated connections with the United States, unless such broker has documentary evidence in its records that the non-U.S. holder is not a United States person (as defined in the Code) and certain other conditions are met, or the non-U.S. holder otherwise establishes an exemption. Payments of proceeds from the sale or other disposition of a Note made to a non-U.S. holder by or through the United States office of a broker are subject to information reporting and backup withholding at the applicable rate unless the non-U.S. holder certifies, under penalties of perjury, that it is not a United States person (as defined in the Code) and satisfies certain other conditions or it otherwise establishes an exemption.
Backup withholding is not an additional tax. The amount of any backup withholding from a payment to a non-U.S. holder may be allowed as a credit against such holder’s U.S. federal income tax liability and may entitle such holder to a refund, provided the required information is furnished to the IRS in a timely manner.
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Non-U.S. holders should consult their tax advisors regarding the application of information reporting and backup withholding in their particular situations, the availability of an exemption therefrom, and the procedures for obtaining such an exemption, if available.
FATCA.   Legislation enacted as part of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act, commonly referred to as FATCA, generally imposes U.S. federal withholding tax at a rate of 30% on (i) U.S. source interest (including interest paid on the Notes) and (ii) subject to the proposed Treasury regulations discussed below, the gross proceeds from the sale or other disposition of obligations that produce U.S. source interest (including the sale, exchange, redemption, retirement or other disposition of the Notes), in each case to certain foreign entities, unless various information reporting, withholding and other requirements are satisfied. In the case of payments made to a “foreign financial institution” (as defined in section 1471(d)(4) of the Code and the Treasury regulations promulgated thereunder), subject to certain exceptions, the tax will generally be imposed unless the foreign financial institution enters into an agreement with the U.S. Treasury Department to collect and disclose certain information regarding its U.S. account holders (including certain account holders that are foreign entities that have U.S. owners) and satisfies certain other requirements or is deemed to be compliant with the requirements of FATCA, pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement in respect of FATCA or otherwise. In the case of payments made to certain other non-U.S. entities, the tax generally will be imposed unless such entity provides the payor with certain information regarding certain direct and indirect U.S. owners of the entity, or certifies that it has no such U.S. owners, and complies with certain other requirements. No additional amounts will be payable on account of any withholding obligation that is imposed with respect to payments on the Notes as a result of the failure of any holder or beneficial owner of a Note, or any intermediary through which it directly or indirectly owns such Note, to comply with the requirements of FATCA.
Treasury regulations proposed in December 2018 eliminate FATCA withholding on the gross proceeds from a sale or other disposition of instruments, such as the Notes, that produce U.S. source interest. In its preamble to such proposed Treasury regulations, the IRS stated that taxpayers may generally rely on the proposed Treasury regulations until final Treasury regulations are issued.
Holders are encouraged to consult with their own tax advisors regarding the possible implications of FATCA on their investment in the Notes.
The discussion of U.S. federal income tax considerations set forth above is included for general information only and may not be applicable depending upon a holder’s particular situation. Prospective purchasers of the Notes are urged to consult their own tax advisors with respect to the tax consequences to them of the purchase, ownership and disposition of Notes, including the tax consequences under state, local, estate, foreign and other tax laws and the possible effects of changes in U.S. or other tax laws.
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UNDERWRITING
We have entered into an underwriting agreement with Sandler O’Neill & Partners, L.P., Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. and U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., who are acting as the representatives of each of the several underwriters named below, with respect to the Notes being offered pursuant to this prospectus supplement. Subject to certain conditions, the underwriters have agreed to purchase, severally, the aggregate principal amount of Notes in this offering set forth next to their names in the following table.
Underwriters
Principal
Amount of Notes
Sandler O’Neill & Partners, L.P.
$       
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc.
U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc.
Total
The underwriting agreement provides that the obligations of the underwriters to purchase the Notes offered hereby are subject to certain conditions precedent and that the underwriters are obligated to purchase all of the Notes offered by this prospectus supplement if any of the Notes are purchased.
We have agreed to indemnify the underwriters against some specified types of liabilities, including liabilities under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and to contribute to payments the underwriters may be required to make in respect of any of these liabilities.
Discounts
The following table shows the per Note and total underwriting discount we will pay the underwriters.
Per Note
      %
Total
$      
Notes sold by the underwriters to the public will be offered at the public offering price set forth on the cover of this prospectus supplement. Any Notes sold by the underwriters to securities dealers may be sold at a discount from the initial public offering price not to exceed    % of the principal amount of the Notes. Any such securities dealers may resell any Notes purchased from the underwriters to certain other brokers or dealers at a discount from the initial public offering price not to exceed    % of the principal amount of the Notes. If all of the Notes are not sold at their applicable initial offering prices, the underwriters may change the offering prices and the other selling terms. The offering of the Notes by the underwriters is subject to receipt and acceptance and subject to the underwriters’ right to reject any order in whole or in part.
We estimate that our expenses for the offering, not including the underwriting discount, will be approximately $      . We also have agreed to reimburse the underwriters for certain of their fees and expenses related to the offering. In accordance with FINRA Rule 5110, these reimbursed fees and expenses are deemed underwriting compensation for this offering.
The underwriters have advised us that they do not intend to confirm sales to any account over which they exercise discretionary authority.
No Public Trading Market
There is currently no public trading market for the Notes. In addition, we have not applied and do not intend to apply to list the Notes on any national securities exchange or to have the Notes quoted on an automated dealer quotation system. The underwriters have advised us that they intend to make a market in the Notes. However, they are not obligated to do so and may discontinue any market-making in the Notes at any time in their sole discretion and without prior notice. Therefore, we cannot assure you that a liquid trading market for the Notes will develop or continue, that you will be able to sell your Notes at a particular time, or that the price that you receive when you sell will be favorable. If an active public trading market for the Notes does not develop, then the market price and liquidity of the Notes may be adversely affected. If
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the Notes are traded, then they may trade at a discount from their initial offering price, depending on prevailing interest rates, the market for similar securities, our operating performance and financial condition, general economic conditions and other factors.
No Sales of Similar Securities
We have agreed, for a period beginning on the date of the underwriting agreement and continuing to and including the closing date of the offering contemplated hereby, that we will not, without the prior written consent of the underwriters, directly or indirectly, issue, sell, offer or contract to sell, grant any option for the sale of, or otherwise transfer or dispose of, any debt securities issued or guaranteed by us or any subsidiary of ours, other than the Notes.
Price Stabilization; Short Positions
In connection with this offering of the Notes, the underwriters may engage in overallotment, stabilizing transactions and syndicate covering transactions. Overallotment involves sales of Notes in excess of the offering size, which may create a short position for the underwriters. Stabilizing transactions involve bids to purchase the Notes in the open market for the purpose of pegging, fixing or maintaining the price of the Notes. Syndicate covering transactions involve purchases of the Notes in the open market after the distribution has been completed in order to cover short positions. Stabilizing transactions and syndicate covering transactions may cause the price of the Notes to be higher than it would otherwise be in the absence of those transactions. If the underwriters engage in stabilizing or syndicate covering transactions, then they may discontinue them at any time without notice.
Neither we nor the underwriters make any representation or prediction as to the direction or magnitude of any effect that the transactions described above may have on the price of the Notes. In addition, neither we nor the underwriters make any representation that the underwriters will engage in these transactions or that these transactions, once commenced, will not be discontinued without notice.
Other Relationships
The underwriters and their affiliates have engaged in, and may in the future engage in, investment banking and other commercial dealings in the ordinary course of business with us or our affiliates. They have received, or may in the future receive, customary fees and commissions for these transactions. U.S. Bank National Association, the trustee for the Notes, is an affiliate of U.S. Bancorp Investments, Inc., an underwriter.
In addition, in the ordinary course of their business activities, the underwriters and their affiliates may make or hold a broad array of investments, including, without limitation, serving as counterparties to certain derivative and hedging arrangements and actively trade debt and equity securities (or related derivative securities) and financial instruments (including bank loans) for their own account and for the accounts of their customers. Such investments and securities activities may involve securities and/or instruments of ours or our affiliates. If the underwriters or their affiliates have a lending relationship with us, they may hedge their credit exposure to us consistent with their customary risk management policies. The underwriters and their affiliates could hedge such exposure by entering into transactions which consist of either the purchase of credit default swaps or the creation of short positions in our securities, including potentially the Notes offered hereby. Any such credit default swaps or short positions could adversely affect future trading prices of the Notes offered hereby. The underwriters and their affiliates may also make investment recommendations and/or publish or express independent research views in respect of such securities or financial instruments and may hold, or recommend to clients that they acquire, long and/or short positions in such securities and instruments.
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LEGAL MATTERS
The validity of the securities offered hereby will be passed upon for Sterling by Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP, Washington, District of Columbia. Certain legal matters related to the offering will be passed upon for the underwriters by Sidley Austin LLP, New York City, New York.
EXPERTS
Sterling
The consolidated financial statements of Sterling Bancorp appearing in Sterling Bancorp’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2018 and the effectiveness of Sterling Bancorp’s internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2018 have been audited by Crowe LLP, independent registered public accounting firm, as set forth in their reports thereon, included therein, and incorporated herein by reference. Such consolidated financial statements are incorporated herein by reference in reliance upon such reports given on the authority of such firm as experts in accounting and auditing.
Astoria
The consolidated financial statements of Astoria Financial Corporation as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, and for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2016, and management’s assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016 have been incorporated by reference herein in reliance upon the reports of KPMG LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, incorporated by reference herein, and upon the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing.
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PROSPECTUS
[MISSING IMAGE: 401551931_lg_sterlingbancorp-pms.jpg]
400 Rella Boulevard
Montebello, New York 10901
(845) 369-8040
Debt Securities
Common Stock
Preferred Stock
Depositary Shares
Warrants
Purchase Contracts
Units
The securities of each class may be offered and sold from time to time by us and/or by one or more selling securityholders to be identified in the future. We will provide the specific terms of these securities in supplements to this prospectus. You should read this prospectus and the applicable prospectus supplement carefully before you invest in the securities described in the applicable prospectus supplement. This prospectus may not be used to consummate sales of securities unless accompanied by a prospectus supplement.
These securities will be our equity securities or unsecured obligations and will not be savings accounts, deposits or other obligations of any of our subsidiaries and are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other governmental agency.
Each time we sell securities, we will provide a prospectus supplement that contains specific information about the terms of those securities. A prospectus supplement may also add, update or change information contained in this prospectus. You should read both this prospectus and any applicable prospectus supplement together with the additional information described below under the heading “Where You Can Find More Information.” If the information in this prospectus is inconsistent with a prospectus supplement, you should rely on the information in that prospectus supplement. We may also prepare free writing prospectuses that describe particular securities. Any free writing prospectus should also be read in connection with this prospectus and with any prospectus supplement referred to therein. For purposes of this prospectus, any reference to an applicable prospectus supplement may also refer to a free writing prospectus, unless the context otherwise requires.
We may sell the securities (a) through agents; (b) through underwriters or dealers; (c) directly to one or more purchasers; or (d) through a combination of any of these methods of sale. We, our agents and any underwriters reserve the sole right to accept and to reject in whole or in part any proposed purchase of securities. A prospectus supplement, which we will provide to you each time we offer securities, will provide the names of any underwriters, dealers, or agents involved in the sale of the securities, and any applicable fee, commission, or discount arrangements with them.
Our common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “STL.” Our principal executive offices are located at 400 Rella Boulevard, Montebello, New York 10901. Our telephone number is (845) 369-8040.
Investing in these securities involves risks. See “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 and in other documents that we subsequently file with the Securities and Exchange Commission which are incorporated by reference into this prospectus. Additional risk factors may also be set forth in any applicable prospectus supplement. Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
The date of this prospectus is March 7, 2018.

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The words “Sterling,” “Company,” “we,” “our,” “ours” and “us” refer to Sterling Bancorp and its subsidiaries, unless otherwise stated, and “Astoria” as used herein refers to Astoria Financial Corporation, a Delaware corporation we acquired on October 2, 2017.

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WHERE YOU CAN FIND MORE INFORMATION
We file annual, quarterly and current reports, proxy statements and other information with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. You may read and copy any document we file at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the public reference room. In addition, our SEC filings are available to the public from the SEC’s web site at http://www.sec.gov and through the New York Stock Exchange, Inc., 20 Broad Street, New York, New York 10005. For further information on obtaining copies of our public filings at the New York Stock Exchange, you should call (212) 656-5060.
The SEC allows us to incorporate by reference the information we file with them, which means that we can disclose important information to you by referring you to those documents. The information incorporated by reference is considered to be a part of this prospectus, and later information that we file with the SEC will automatically update and supersede this information. We incorporate by reference the following documents listed below and any future filings made with the SEC under Section 13(a), 13(c), 14 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, until the termination of the offering:

our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 filed on March 1, 2018;

the audited consolidated financial statements of Astoria as of December 31, 2016 and 2015 and for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2015 and 2014 included in Astoria’s Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on February 28, 2017;

our Current Report on Form 8-K, as filed with the SEC on March 7, 2018; and

the description of our common stock contained in our registration statement on Form 8-A filed on December 16, 2011 with the SEC pursuant to which our common stock was registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act, including any amendment or report filed for the purpose of updating such description.
Unless otherwise stated in the applicable reports, information furnished under Item 2.02 or 7.01 of our Current Reports on Form 8-K is not incorporated by reference.
You may request a copy of these filings, other than an exhibit to a filing unless that exhibit is specifically incorporated by reference into that filing, at no cost, by writing or telephoning us at the following address:
Sterling Bancorp
400 Rella Boulevard
Montebello, New York 10901
(845) 369-8040
Attn: Mr. Edward Nebb, Investor Relations Department
(203) 972-8350
SECURITIES WE MAY OFFER
We may use this prospectus to offer securities in one or more offerings. A prospectus supplement, which we will provide each time we offer securities, will describe the amounts, prices and detailed terms of the securities and may describe risks associated with an investment in the securities. We will also include in the prospectus supplement, where applicable, information about material United States federal income tax considerations relating to the securities. Terms used in this prospectus will have the meanings described in this prospectus unless otherwise specified. The securities of each class as described in this prospectus may also be offered and sold, from time to time, by one or more selling securityholders to be identified in the future.
We may sell the securities to or through underwriters, dealers or agents or directly to purchasers. We, as well as any agents acting on our behalf and any underwriters, reserve the sole right to accept or to reject in whole or in part any proposed purchase of our securities. Each prospectus supplement will set forth the names of any underwriters, dealers or agents involved in the sale of our securities described in that prospectus supplement and any applicable fee, commission or discount arrangements with them.
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This prospectus may not be used to sell securities unless accompanied by the applicable prospectus supplement.
Debt Securities
We may issue senior debt securities or subordinated debt securities. Senior debt securities will be issued under an indenture, the “senior indenture,” between us and the trustee named in the applicable prospectus supplement, as trustee. Subordinated debt securities will be issued under a separate indenture, the “subordinated indenture,” between us and the trustee named in the applicable prospectus supplement, as trustee. The senior indenture and the subordinated indenture are sometimes collectively referred to in this prospectus as the “indentures.” The indentures will be subject to and governed by the Trust Indenture Act of 1939. When we offer to sell a particular series of debt securities, we will describe the specific terms of the securities in a supplement to this prospectus. The prospectus supplement will also indicate whether the general terms and provisions described in this prospectus apply to a particular series of debt securities.
Common Stock
We may sell our common stock, par value $0.01 per share. In a prospectus supplement, we will describe the aggregate number of shares offered and the offering price or prices of the shares.
Preferred Stock and Depositary Shares
We may sell shares of our preferred stock in one or more series. In a prospectus supplement, we will describe the specific designation, the aggregate number of shares offered, the dividend rate or manner of calculating the dividend rate, the dividend periods or manner of calculating the dividend periods, the ranking of the shares of the series with respect to dividends, liquidation and dissolution, the stated value of the shares of the series, the voting rights of the shares of the series, if any, whether and on what terms the shares of the series will be convertible or exchangeable, whether and on what terms we can redeem the shares of the series, whether we will offer depositary shares representing shares of the series and if so, the fraction or multiple of a share of preferred stock represented by each depositary share, whether we will list the preferred stock or depositary shares on a securities exchange and any other specific terms of the series of preferred stock.
Warrants
We may sell warrants to purchase our newly issued senior notes, subordinated notes, shares of our preferred stock, shares of our common stock or units. In a prospectus supplement, we will inform you of the exercise price and other specific terms of the warrants, including whether our or your obligations, if any, under any warrants may be satisfied by delivering or purchasing the underlying securities or their cash value.
Purchase Contracts
We may issue purchase contracts, including purchase contracts issued as part of a unit with one or more other securities, for the purchase or sale of our debt securities, preferred stock or common stock. The price of our debt securities or price per share of common stock or preferred stock, as applicable, may be fixed at the time the purchase contracts are issued or may be determined by reference to a specific formula contained in the purchase contracts. We may issue purchase contracts in such amounts and in as many distinct series as we wish. The applicable prospectus supplement will describe the terms of any purchase contracts.
Units
We may issue, in one more series, units comprised of two or more of the other securities described in this prospectus in any combination. In a prospectus supplement, we will describe the particular combination of securities constituting any units and any other specific terms of the units.
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USE OF PROCEEDS
Unless otherwise specified in a prospectus supplement accompanying this prospectus, we currently intend to use the net proceeds from the sale of the securities offered under this prospectus for general corporate purposes. General corporate purposes may include repayment of debt or the interest payment thereon, capital expenditures, possible acquisitions, investments, and any other purposes that we may specify in any prospectus supplement. We may invest the net proceeds temporarily until we use them for their stated purpose. We cannot predict whether the proceeds invested will yield a favorable return.
VALIDITY OF SECURITIES
Unless otherwise indicated in the applicable prospectus supplement, some legal matters will be passed upon for us by our counsel, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP. If the securities are being distributed in an underwritten offering, the validity of the securities will be passed upon for the underwriters by counsel identified in the applicable prospectus supplement.
EXPERTS
Sterling
The consolidated financial statements of Sterling Bancorp and Subsidiaries as of December 31, 2017 and 2016 and for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2017, and the effectiveness of Sterling Bancorp and Subsidiaries’ internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2017 have been audited by Crowe Horwath LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, as set forth in their report appearing in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017 and incorporated in this prospectus by reference. Such consolidated financial statements have been so incorporated in reliance upon the report of such firm given upon their authority as experts in accounting and auditing.
Astoria
The consolidated financial statements of Astoria Financial Corporation as of December 31, 2016 and 2015, and for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 2016, and management’s assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2016 have been incorporated by reference herein in reliance upon the reports of KPMG LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm, incorporated by reference herein, and upon the authority of said firm as experts in accounting and auditing.
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$        
    % Fixed-to-Floating Rate Subordinated Notes due 2029
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Prospectus Supplement
Joint Book-Running Managers
SANDLER O’NEILL + PARTNERS, L.P.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods
A Stifel Company​
US Bancorp​
           , 2019.

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