OceanFirst enters Philadelphia market with loan facility

File photo Joseph Lebel of OceanFirst Bank.

Toms River-based OceanFirst Bank has opened its first facility in Philadelphia, a loan production office representing an expansion of its traditional Central and South Jersey base.

The new office encompasses more than 2,800 square feet at the Two Logan Square office building, 100 N. 18th St., in the city’s downtown. It eventually will house as many as 10 employees.

“Philadelphia represents a natural expansion, given our traditional footprint in central and southern New Jersey,” Joseph J. Lebel, executive vice president and chief operating officer, told ROI-NJ. “It’s a vibrant, growing metropolitan area which has seen many of its longstanding independent banking companies merged with national banks headquartered outside the market.

“We think OceanFirst can make a difference for local businesses and provide a viable alternative as a technologically progressive, yet relationship-focused regional community bank.”

Lebel noted that Philadelphia jobs will not be siphoned from New Jersey locations, saying, “We are considering, on an ongoing basis, new hires to meet our strategic growth plans in the Philadelphia and New York City metro markets.”

He also said the bank expects to eventually establish a retail branch presence in the Philadelphia area, with future expansion into Pennsylvania.

In the bank’s recent investor presentation, Lebel had noted the site’s strong start:

“We are also pleased with the early success for our Philadelphia region expansion, and expect solid second-half results as the team gains traction. There are five lenders in the region today, and we are finalizing our regional president candidate, too, and expect a second-quarter announcement of the Philadelphia region president’s election.”