OceanFirst Financial has been busy in recent months. With a strong presence along the Shore, the bank has played a key role in the region’s booming real estate market and the economic recovery in general. That strength was reflected in third quarter results in which OceanFirst reported better-than-expected earnings and solid growth in lending.
At the same time the bank has been consolidating branches and expanding into new markets. In November, OceanFirst announed that it would acquire Salisbury, Md.-based Partners Bancorp in a deal valued at about $186 million. The transaction will extend the buyer’s footprint into Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the Washington, D.C.-metro area, creating a company with approximately $13.5 billion in assets, $9.3 billion in loans and $11.2 billion in deposits.
For this edition of NJBIZ Conversations, Editor Jeff Kanige spoke with OceanFirst CEO Chris Maher about the bank’s recent performance, the Partners merger and the economic challenges facing New Jersey and the nation over the next year.
“I do think the supply chain gets resolved, it will take a little while to get resolved,” he said. “The major question mark we have remaining for 2022 will be the labor market. We have seen a significant number of Americans decide to retire early or change their views on what the appropriate kind of life balance is — around work, the way they work, the locations they work in, the kind of work they’re willing to do. I think, will adjust to that as well. … It’s not going to be an issue to create jobs, those jobs are out there. It’s just an issue of getting them filled.”