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Press Release

Kroll Bond Rating Agency Affirms First Bank Investment Grade Rating

Company Release - 8/28/2020 2:00 PM ET

HAMILTON, N.J., Aug. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- First Bank (Nasdaq Global Market: FRBA) today announced that the Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA), a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has affirmed the Bank’s credit ratings and stable outlook. The announcement was made by Patrick L. Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer.

The Bank’s favorable ratings and a stable outlook were maintained with a Deposit rating of BBB+, Senior Unsecured Debt rating of BBB+, Subordinated Debt rating of BBB, Short-Term Deposit rating of K2 and a Short-Term Debt rating of K2. KBRA’s report and additional details on their rating scale can be found at their website at www.krollbondratings.com. According to KBRA’s report, “the Bank’s ratings are supported by a seasoned management team and their successful execution of strategy in recent years – utilizing M&A and organic growth to build scale within footprint. This has resulted in enhanced operating leverage and relatively stable pre-tax, pre-provision earnings in recent periods despite the challenging interest rate environment. FRBA’s ratings also reflect a relatively favorable credit position entering the COVID-19 pandemic – with minimal credit losses in recent years. The negligible net charge off activity is, in part, due to the prolonged benign credit environment, though also due to conservative underwriting criteria. Moreover, the Bank is well situated from a loss absorption standpoint – with a comparatively higher level of loan loss reserves (1.68% to total loans, including existing marks from acquired portfolios and excluding PPP) and a TCE ratio of 10% (excluding PPP) as of 2Q20.”

Mr. Ryan stated: “We are very pleased with the results of the KBRA annual ratings review, which validates our strategic vision of growth and improving profitability while maintaining a safe and sound operating environment. We believe that our favorable credit ratings helped to facilitate our recent successful subordinated debt offering, will continue to provide us with additional capital markets flexibility and provide current and future customers additional comfort on our sound operating environment.”

About Kroll Bond Rating Agency

KBRA was established in 2010 in an effort to restore trust in credit ratings by creating new standards for assessing risk and by offering accurate and transparent ratings. KBRA is registered with the SEC as a NRSRO and is recognized by the National Association of Insurance Commission as a Credit Rating Provider. KBRA is a full-service rating agency whose mission is to set a standard of excellence and integrity.

About First Bank

First Bank is a New Jersey state-chartered bank with 18 full-service branches in Cinnaminson, Cranbury, Delanco, Denville, Ewing, Flemington, Hamilton, Hamilton Square, Lawrence, Mercerville, Pennington, Randolph, Somerset and Williamstown, New Jersey; and Doylestown, Trevose, Warminster and West Chester, Pennsylvania. With $2.3 billion in assets as of June 30, 2020, First Bank offers a full range of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses throughout the New York City to Philadelphia corridor. First Bank's common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “FRBA”. 

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements, either express or implied, within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements include information regarding First Bank’s future financial performance, business and growth strategy, projected plans and objectives, and related transactions, integration of acquired businesses, ability to recognize anticipated operational efficiencies, and other projections based on macroeconomic and industry trends, which are inherently unreliable due to the multiple factors that impact economic trends, and any such variations may be material.  Such forward-looking statements are based on various facts and derived utilizing important assumptions, current expectations, estimates and projections about First Bank, any of which may change over time and some of which may be beyond First Bank’s control. Statements preceded by, followed by or that otherwise include the words “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “projects,” “estimates,” “plans” and similar expressions or future or conditional verbs such as “will,” “should,” “would,” “may” and “could” are generally forward-looking in nature and not historical facts, although not all forward-looking statements include the foregoing. Further, certain factors that could affect our future results and cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: whether First Bank can: successfully implement its growth strategy, including identifying acquisition targets and consummating suitable acquisitions; continue to sustain its internal growth rate; provide competitive products and services that appeal to its customers and target markets; difficult market conditions and unfavorable economic trends in the United States generally, and particularly in the market areas in which First Bank operates and in which its loans are concentrated, including the effects of declines in housing markets; the impact of disease pandemics, such as the novel strain of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), on First Bank, its operations and its customers and employees; an increase in unemployment levels and slowdowns in economic growth; First Bank's level of nonperforming assets and the costs associated with resolving any problem loans including litigation and other costs; changes in market interest rates may increase funding costs and reduce earning asset yields thus reducing margin; the impact of changes in interest rates and the credit quality and strength of underlying collateral and the effect of such changes on the market value of First Bank's investment securities portfolio; the extensive federal and state regulation, supervision and examination governing almost every aspect of First Bank's operations including changes in regulations affecting financial institutions, including the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the rules and regulations being issued in accordance with this statute and potential expenses associated with complying with such regulations; uncertainties in tax estimates and valuations, including due to changes in state and federal tax law; First Bank's ability to comply with applicable capital and liquidity requirements, including First Bank’s ability to generate liquidity internally or raise capital on favorable terms, including continued access to the debt and equity capital markets; possible changes in trade, monetary and fiscal policies, laws and regulations and other activities of governments, agencies, and similar organizations. For discussion of these and other risks that may cause actual results to differ from expectations, please refer to “Forward-Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors” in First Bank’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and any updates to those risk factors set forth in First Bank’s joint proxy statement, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q or Current Reports on Form 8-K. If one or more events related to these or other risks or uncertainties materialize, or if First Bank’s underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, actual results may differ materially from what First Bank anticipates. Accordingly, you should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and First Bank does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or review any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise. All forward-looking statements, expressed or implied, included in this communication are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement. This cautionary statement should also be considered in connection with any subsequent written or oral forward-looking statements that First Bank or persons acting on First Bank’s behalf may issue.

CONTACT:  Patrick L. Ryan, President and CEO
(609) 643-0168, [email protected]


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Source: First Bank