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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)
           ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020

           TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15 (d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from ________ to _______

Commission file Number:  000-32891

1ST CONSTITUTION BANCORP
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)
New Jersey 22-3665653
(State or Other Jurisdiction of
Incorporation or Organization)
 (IRS Employer Identification Number)
2650 Route 130P.O. Box 634CranburyNew Jersey08512
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)(Zip Code)
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)(609)655-4500



Securities Registered Pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Common stock, no par valueFCCYNASDAQ Global Market

 Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes      No 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act. Yes      No 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No 

    Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Yes      No 





Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.:
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  
Yes   No   ý

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant, computed by reference to the price at which the common stock was last sold, or the average bid and asked price of such common stock, as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second quarter, is $110,411,286.

As of February 26, 2021, 10,241,100 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.

    Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement for its 2021 Annual Meeting of Shareholders (“2021 Proxy Statement”) are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The 2021 Proxy Statement will be filed within 120 days of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.




    




FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART I
 
 PART II 
 
 
 PART III 
 
 
 PART IV 
 
Item 16.Form 10-K Summary
 
 
 




When used in this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 (this "Form 10-K"), the words the "Company," "we," "our," and "us" refer to 1ST Constitution Bancorp and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, unless we indicate otherwise.

Forward-Looking Statements

This Form 10-K contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 relating to, without limitation, our future economic performance, plans and objectives for future operations, and projections of revenues and other financial items that are based on our beliefs, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to us. The words "may," "will," "anticipate," "should," "would," "believe," "contemplate," "could," "project," "predict," "expect," "estimate," "continue," and "intend," as well as other similar words and expressions of the future, are intended to identify forward-looking statements.

These forward-looking statements are based upon our opinions and estimates as of the date they are made and are not guarantees of future performance. Although we believe that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, such forward-looking statements are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that may be beyond our control, which could cause actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from results, performance and achievements projected, expected, expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.
 
Examples of factors or events that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or those anticipated,
expressed or implied include, without limitation, changes in the overall economy and interest rate changes; inflation, market and monetary fluctuations; the ability of our customers to repay their obligations; the accuracy of our financial statement estimates and assumptions, including the adequacy of the estimates made in connection with determining the adequacy of the allowance for loan losses; increased competition and its effect on the availability and pricing of deposits and loans; significant changes in accounting, tax or regulatory practices and requirements; changes in deposit flows, loan demand or real estate values; the enactment of legislation or regulatory changes; changes in monetary and fiscal policies of the U.S. government; changes to the method that LIBOR rates are determined and to the phasing out of LIBOR after 2021; changes in loan delinquency rates or in our levels of nonperforming assets; our ability to declare and pay dividends; changes in the economic climate in the market areas in which we operate; the frequency and magnitude of foreclosure of our loans; changes in consumer spending and saving habits; the effects of the health and soundness of other financial institutions, including the need of the FDIC to increase the Deposit Insurance Fund assessments; technological changes; the effects of climate change and harsh weather conditions, including hurricanes and man-made disasters; the economic impact of any future terrorist threats and attacks, acts of war or threats thereof and the response of the United States to any such threats and attacks; our ability to integrate acquisitions and achieve cost savings; other risks described from time to time in our filings with the SEC; and our ability to manage the risks involved in the foregoing. Further, the foregoing factors may be exacerbated by the ultimate impact of the Novel Coronavirus ("COVID-19") pandemic, which is unknown at this time.

In addition, statements about the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential effects and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations may constitute forward-looking statements and are subject to the risk that actual results may differ, possibly materially, from what is reflected in such forward-looking statements due to factors and future developments that are uncertain, unpredictable and, in many cases, beyond our control, including the scope, duration and extent of the pandemic, actions taken by governmental authorities in response to the pandemic and the direct and indirect impact of the pandemic on our employees, customers, business and third-parties with which we conduct business.

Although management has taken certain steps to mitigate any negative effect of the aforementioned factors and the COVID-19 pandemic, significant unfavorable changes could severely impact the assumptions used and have an adverse effect on profitability. Additional information concerning the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements is contained in Item 1. "Business," Item 1A. “Risk Factors,” Item 7. "Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations," and elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K and in our other filings with the SEC. However, other factors besides those listed in Item 1A. “Risk Factors” or discussed in this Annual Report also could adversely affect our results and you should not consider any such list of factors to be a complete list of all potential risks or uncertainties. Any forward-looking statements made by us or on our behalf speak only as of the date they are made. We undertake no obligation to publicly revise any forward-looking statements or cautionary factors, except as required by law.
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PART I
Item 1.  Business.
 
1ST Constitution Bancorp
 
1ST Constitution Bancorp is a bank holding company registered under the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended. 1ST Constitution Bancorp was organized under the laws of the State of New Jersey in February 1999 for the purpose of acquiring all of the issued and outstanding stock of 1ST Constitution Bank (the "Bank") and thereby enabling the Bank to operate within a bank holding company structure. The Company became an active bank holding company on July 1, 1999. As of December 31, 2020, the Company has four employees, all of whom are full-time. The Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company. Other than its investment in the Bank, the Company currently conducts no other significant business activities.

The main office of the Company and the Bank is located at 2650 Route 130 Cranbury, New Jersey 08512, and the telephone number is (609) 655-4500.
 
1ST Constitution Bank
 
The Bank is a commercial bank formed under the laws of the State of New Jersey and engages in the business of commercial and retail banking. As a community bank, the Bank offers a wide range of services (including demand, savings and time deposits and commercial and consumer/installment loans) to individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations principally in the Fort Lee area of Bergen County and in Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Somerset Counties of New Jersey. The Bank conducts its operations through its main office located in Cranbury, New Jersey, and operates 24 additional branch offices in Asbury Park, Cranbury, Fair Haven, Fort Lee, Freehold, Hamilton, Hightstown, Hillsborough, Hopewell, Jackson, Jamesburg, Lawrenceville, Little Silver, Long Branch, Manahawkin, Neptune City, Perth Amboy, Plainsboro, Princeton, Rumson, Shrewsbury, Skillman and Toms River (2), New Jersey. The Bank also operates a residential mortgage loan production office in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Bank’s deposits are insured up to applicable legal limits by the FDIC. 
 
Management efforts focus primarily on positioning the Bank to meet the financial needs of the communities in the Fort Lee area of Bergen County and in Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Somerset Counties and to provide financial services to individuals, families, institutions and small businesses. To achieve this goal, the Bank is focusing its efforts on:
 
expansion of the Bank;
personal service; and
technological advances and e-commerce.

Expansion of the Bank
 
On November 8, 2019, the Company completed the merger of Shore Community Bank ("Shore"), a New Jersey chartered bank, with and into the Bank, with the Bank being the surviving entity (the "Shore Merger"). At the time of the Shore Merger, Shore had approximately $284.2 million in assets, approximately $209.6 million in loans, and approximately $249.8 million in deposits. Shore operated five branch offices located in Ocean County, New Jersey which became branches of the Bank as a result of the Shore Merger.

On April 11, 2018, the Company completed the merger of New Jersey Community Bank ("NJCB"), a New Jersey-chartered bank, with and into the Bank, with the Bank being the surviving entity (the "NJCB Merger"). At the time of the NJCB Merger, NJCB had approximately $95 million in assets, approximately $75 million in loans, and approximately $87 million in deposits. NJCB operated two branch offices in Monmouth County, New Jersey which became branches of the Bank as a result of the NJCB Merger.

The Bank continually evaluates opportunities to expand its products and services to existing and new customers and expand into new markets through the acquisition of other banks and bank branch offices within and contiguous to its existing markets and/or by opening new branch offices.

Human Capital Resources

At December 31, 2020, the Bank employed 211 full-time equivalent employees. The Bank strives to recruit and retain an outstanding and diverse team. We believe that the highest-performing teams are diverse and the most productive workplaces are inclusive. An engaged employee base is critical to our success, as is diversity and inclusion, which is why it is one of
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Bank’s corporate values and an integral part of our talent and leadership development strategy. We also know that to most effectively compete in our primary market areas and to best serve our customers and communities, our employee base must reflect our increasingly diverse customer base. As a local based and managed main street bank, the Bank is committed to meeting the needs of all of our constituencies—customers, employees, communities and shareholders—as the success of one is intricately linked to the others.

We provide competitive compensation, attractive benefits and assist our employees to prepare for retirement. The Bank continues to invest in our employees’ ongoing career development, including the continuation of education by providing career skills training, mentoring and opportunities to interact with senior management. We have a comprehensive continuing education program with courses that are relevant to the banking industry and job function, as well as courses that touch on changing demographics trends that impact both our customers and employees.


We are committed and focused on the health, safety and well-being of our employees and customers. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented safety protocols in all our offices and branch locations beginning in March 2020, which we continually review and adjust based on applicable guidance and regulations. Our pandemic response included modifying our banking center hours, lobby usage and allowing employees to work remotely where possible during the pandemic. In the fourth quarter of 2020, we made a one-time special bonus to all of our staff to reward them for their resiliency and contributions during this pandemic. In addition, beginning in the first quarter of 2021, the Bank offered paid time off to employees to obtain the COVID-19 vaccinations.

1ST Constitution Bank employees continue to support numerous civic and charitable causes by donating time, resources and financial support. At 1st Constitution, we are a concerned corporate citizen, with long lasting ties to the communities that we serve. Our long term goal is to make these communities a better place in which to work and live.

Personal Service
 
The Bank provides a wide range of commercial and consumer banking services to individuals, families, institutions and small businesses in central and coastal New Jersey and the Fort Lee area of Bergen County. We prioritize understanding and anticipating the needs of our customers and the communities we serve and tailoring our products, services and advice to meet those needs. The Bank seeks to provide a high level of personalized banking services, emphasizing quick and flexible responses to customer demands.
 
Technological Advances and e-Commerce
 
 The Bank recognizes that retail and business customers want to receive service via their most convenient delivery channel, be it the traditional branch office, by mobile device, ATM, or the Internet. For this reason, the Bank continues to enhance its e-commerce capabilities. At www.1stconstitution.com, customers have easy access to online banking, including account access, and to the Bank’s bill payment system. Consumers and businesses may also access their accounts and make deposits through their mobile devices. The Bank introduced several features to enhance customers’ mobile and online banking experience, including real time account alerts and fraud monitoring on debit cards. Consumers can take advantage of Momentum Mortgage, our digital mortgage platform introduced in 2018, to apply online for loans and interact with management through the online portal. Business customers have access to cash management information and transaction capability through the Bank’s online Cash Manager product which permits business customers to make deposits, originate ACH payments, initiate wire transfers, retrieve account information and place “stop payment” orders. During 2020, the Bank replaced many of its automated teller machines with the state of the art equipment to keep pace with the ever changing technology. Our increased service offerings in electronic banking provide our customers with the means to access the Bank’s services easily and at their own convenience.

 Competition
 
 The Bank experiences substantial competition in attracting and retaining deposits and in making loans. In attracting deposits and borrowers, the Bank competes with commercial banks, savings banks, and savings and loan associations, as well as regional and national insurance companies and non-bank financial institutions, mutual funds, regulated small loan companies and local credit unions, regional and national sponsors of money market funds and corporate and government borrowers.  Within the direct market area of the Bank, there are a significant number of offices of competing financial institutions.  In New Jersey generally, and in the Bank’s local market specifically, the Bank’s most direct competitors are large
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commercial banks, including Bank of America, PNC Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Santander Bank, as well as savings banks and savings and loan associations, including Provident Bank and Investors Bank.

The Bank is at a competitive disadvantage compared with these larger national and regional commercial and savings banks.  By virtue of their larger capital, asset size and reserves, many of such institutions have substantially greater lending limits (ceilings on the amount of credit a bank may provide to a single customer that are linked to the institution’s capital) and other resources than the Bank. Many such institutions are empowered to offer a wider range of services, including trust services, than the Bank and, in some cases, have lower funding costs (the price a bank must pay for deposits and other borrowed monies used to make loans to customers) than the Bank. In addition to having established deposit bases and loan portfolios, these institutions, particularly large national and regional commercial and savings banks, have the financial ability to finance extensive advertising campaigns and to allocate considerable resources to locations and products perceived as profitable.
 
In addition, non-bank financial institutions offer services that compete for customers’ investable funds and deposits with the Bank. For example, brokerage firms and insurance companies offer such instruments as short-term money market funds, corporate and government securities funds, mutual funds and annuities. It is expected that competition in these areas will continue to increase. Some of these competitors are not subject to the same degree of regulation and supervision as the Company and the Bank and therefore may be able to offer customers more attractive products than the Bank.
 
However, management of the Bank believes that loans to small and mid-sized businesses and professionals, which represent the main commercial loan business of the Bank, are not always of primary importance to the larger banking institutions. The Bank competes for this segment of the market by providing responsive personalized services, making timely local decisions, and acquiring in depth knowledge of its customers and their businesses.
 
Lending Activities
 
 The Bank’s lending activities include both commercial and consumer loans. Loan originations are derived from a number of sources, including real estate broker referrals, mortgage loan companies, direct solicitation by the Bank’s loan officers, existing depositors and borrowers, builders, attorneys, walk-in customers and, in some instances, other lenders. The Bank has established disciplined and systematic procedures for approving and monitoring loans that vary depending on the size and nature of the loans.

Commercial Business
 
 The Bank offers a variety of commercial loan services, including term loans, lines of credit, and loans secured by equipment and receivables. A broad range of short-to-medium term commercial loans, both secured and unsecured, are made available to businesses for working capital (including inventory and receivables), business expansion (including acquisition and development of real estate and improvements), and the purchase of equipment and machinery. Commercial loans are granted based on the borrower’s ability to generate cash flow to support its debt obligations and other cash related expenses. A borrower’s ability to repay commercial loans is substantially dependent on the success of the business itself and on the quality of its management. As a general practice, the Bank takes, as collateral, a security interest in any available real estate, equipment, inventory, receivables or other personal property of its borrowers, although the Bank occasionally makes commercial loans on an unsecured basis. Generally, the Bank requires personal guarantees of its commercial loans to reduce the risks associated with such loans. The Bank also offers loans of which a portion, generally 75% to 85%, are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration ("SBA"), which is a United States government agency. The Bank generally sells the guaranteed portion of these loans into the secondary market.

Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate loans are made to businesses to expand their facilities and operations and to real estate operators to finance the acquisition of income producing properties. The Company's loan policy requires that borrowers have sufficient cash flow to meet the debt service requirements and the value of the property meets the loan-to-value criteria set forth in the loan policy. The Company monitors loan concentrations by borrower, by type of property and by location and other criteria. The Company's commercial real estate portfolio is largely secured by real estate collateral located in the State of New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area.


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Commercial Construction Financing
 
Construction financing is provided to businesses to expand their facilities and operations and to real estate developers for the acquisition, development and construction of residential and commercial properties. First mortgage construction loans are made to developers and builders primarily for single family homes, multi-family buildings or other commercial income producing properties that are presold, or are to be sold or leased on a speculative basis. The Bank lends to builders and developers with established relationships, successful operating histories and sound financial resources.
 
Residential Lending
 
 A portion of the Bank’s lending activities consists of the origination of fixed and adjustable rate residential first mortgage loans secured by owner-occupied property located primarily in the Bank’s market areas. Home mortgage lending is unique in that a broad geographic territory may be serviced by originators working from strategically placed offices either within the Bank’s traditional banking facilities or from office locations in commercial buildings. Customers may also access and apply for residential mortgage loan through our dedicated website www.momentummortgage.com. The Bank also offers construction loans, reverse mortgages, second mortgage home improvement loans and home equity lines of credit.
 
The Bank finances the construction of individual, owner-occupied single-family houses on the basis of written underwriting and construction loan management guidelines. These loans are made to qualified individual borrowers and are generally supported by a take-out commitment from a permanent lender. The construction phase of these loans has certain risks, including the viability of the contractor, the contractor’s ability to complete the project within the budget and changes in interest rates.
 
The Bank will generally sell its originated residential mortgage loans in the secondary market. The decision to sell is made prior to origination. The sale into the secondary market allows the Bank to mitigate its interest rate risks related to such lending operations. This allows the Bank to accommodate its clients’ demands while eliminating the interest rate risk for the 15 to 30-year period generally associated with such loans.
 
For commercial and residential mortgage loans, the Bank, in most cases, requires borrowers to obtain and maintain title, fire, and extended casualty insurance, and, where required by applicable regulations, flood insurance. The Bank maintains its own errors and omissions insurance policy to protect against loss in the event of failure of a mortgagor to pay premiums on fire and other hazard insurance policies. Mortgage loans originated by the Bank customarily include a "due on sale" clause, which gives the Bank the right to declare a loan immediately due and payable in certain circumstances, including, without limitation, upon the sale or other disposition by the borrower of the real property subject to a mortgage. In general, the Bank enforces "due on sale" clauses.

Non-Residential Consumer Lending
 
Non-residential consumer loans made by the Bank include loans for automobiles, recreation vehicles, and boats, as well as personal loans (secured and unsecured) and deposit account secured loans. Non-residential consumer loans are attractive to the Bank because they typically have a shorter term and carry higher interest rates than are charged on other types of loans. However, non-residential consumer loans pose an additional risk of collectability when compared to traditional loans, such as residential mortgage loans.
 
Consumer loans are granted based on employment and financial information solicited from prospective borrowers, as well as credit records collected from various reporting agencies.  The stability of the borrower, willingness to pay and credit history are the primary factors to be considered. The availability of collateral is also a factor considered in making such a loan. The Bank seeks collateral that can be assigned and has good marketability with a clearly adequate margin of value. The geographic area of the borrower is another consideration, with preference given to borrowers in the Bank’s primary market areas.
 
Supervision and Regulation

Banking is a complex, highly-regulated industry. The primary goals of the bank regulatory scheme are to maintain a safe and sound banking system and to facilitate the conduct of monetary policy. In furtherance of those goals, Congress has created several largely autonomous regulatory agencies and enacted a myriad of legislation that governs banks, bank holding companies and the banking industry. This regulatory framework is intended primarily for the protection of depositors and not for the protection of the Company’s shareholders or creditors. Descriptions of, and references to, the statutes and regulations below are brief summaries thereof, and do not purport to be complete. The descriptions are qualified in their entirety by
5


reference to the specific statutes and regulations discussed.

Regulation of the Bank Holding Company

The Company is a bank holding company within the meaning of the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956, as amended (the "BHCA"). As a bank holding company, the Company is subject to inspection, examination and supervision by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the "Federal Reserve Board") and is required to file with the Federal Reserve Board an annual report and such additional information as the Federal Reserve Board may require pursuant to the BHCA. The Federal Reserve Board may also make examinations of the Company and its subsidiaries. The Company is subject to capital standards similar to, but separate from, those applicable to the Bank.

Under the BHCA, bank holding companies that are not financial holding companies generally may not acquire the ownership or control of more than 5% of the voting shares, or substantially all of the assets, of any company, including a bank or another bank holding company, without the Federal Reserve Board’s prior approval. The Company has not applied to become a financial holding company but did obtain such approval to acquire the shares of the Bank. A bank holding company that does not qualify as a financial holding company is generally limited in the types of activities in which it may engage to those that the Federal Reserve Board had recognized as permissible for bank holding companies prior to the date of enactment of the Gramm-Leach- Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999. For example, a holding company and its banking subsidiary are prohibited from engaging in certain tie-in arrangements in connection with any extension of credit or lease or sale of any property or the furnishing of services. At present, the Company does not engage in any significant activity other than owning the Bank.

In addition to federal bank holding company regulation, the Company is registered as a bank holding company with the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (the "NJ Banking Department"). The Company is required to file with the NJ Banking Department copies of the reports it files with the federal banking and securities regulators.

Regulation of the Bank Subsidiary

As a New Jersey-chartered commercial bank, the Bank is subject to supervision and examination by the NJ Banking Department. The Bank is also subject to regulation and examination by the FDIC, which is its principal federal bank regulator.

The Bank must comply with various requirements and restrictions under federal and state law, including the maintenance of reserves against deposits, restrictions on the types and amounts of loans that may be granted and the interest that may be charged thereon, limitations on the types of investments that may be made and the services that may be offered, and restrictions on dividends as described in the below section titled "Restrictions on Dividends and Redemption of Stock for the Company and the Bank." The Bank must also comply with the capital regulations promulgated by the FDIC as described in the section below titled "Capital Adequacy of the Company and the Bank." Consumer laws and regulations also affect the operations of the Bank. In addition to the impact of regulation, commercial banks are affected significantly by the actions of the Federal Reserve Board which influence the money supply and credit availability in the national economy.

For additional information on laws and regulations affecting the Bank, please refer to the below section titled "Banking Legislation and Regulations."

Capital Adequacy of the Company and the Bank

The Company is required to comply with minimum capital adequacy standards established by the Federal Reserve Board. There are two basic measures of capital adequacy for bank holding companies and the depository institutions that they own: a risk based measure and a leverage measure. All applicable capital standards must be satisfied for a bank holding company to be considered in compliance.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act of 1991 ("FDICIA") requires each federal banking agency to revise its risk-based capital standards to ensure that those standards take adequate account of interest rate risk, concentration of credit risk and the risks of non-traditional activities. In addition, pursuant to FDICIA, each federal banking agency has promulgated regulations specifying the levels at which a bank would be considered "well capitalized," "adequately capitalized," "undercapitalized," "significantly undercapitalized," or "critically undercapitalized" and requiring that certain mandatory and discretionary supervisory actions be taken based on the capital level of the institution.

In December 2010, the Group of Governors and Heads of Supervisors of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision,
6


the oversight body of the Basel Committee, published its “calibrated” capital standards for major banking institutions, referred to as Basel III. Subsequently, in July 2013, the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC approved revisions to their capital adequacy guidelines and prompt corrective action rules that implemented and addressed the revised standards of Basel III and addressed relevant provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Federal Reserve Board’s and the FDIC’s rules apply to all depository institutions, top-tier bank holding companies with total consolidated assets of $500 million or more (which was subsequently increased to $1 billion or more in May 2015), and top-tier savings and loan holding companies (collectively referred to herein as, "banking organizations"). Among other things, the rules established a new Common Equity Tier 1 minimum capital requirement (4.5% of risk-weighted assets) and increased the minimum Tier 1 capital to risk-based assets requirement (from 4% to 6% of risk-weighted assets). Banking organizations are also required to have a total capital ratio of at least 8% and a Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 4%. The rules also limit a banking organization’s ability to pay dividends, engage in share repurchases or pay discretionary bonuses if the banking organization does not hold a "capital conservation buffer" consisting of 2.5% of Common Equity Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets in addition to the amount necessary to meet its minimum risk-based capital requirements. The rules became effective for the Company and the Bank on January 1, 2015 (subject to phase-in periods for certain components). As of January 1, 2019, the capital conservation buffer requirement is fully phased in.

With respect to the Bank, the FDIC’s regulations implementing these provisions of FDICIA provide that an institution will be classified as "well capitalized" if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 10.0 percent, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 8.0 percent, (iii) has a Common Equity Tier 1, or CET1, ratio of at least 6.5 percent, (iv) has a Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 5.0 percent, and (v) meets certain other requirements. An institution will be classified as "adequately capitalized" if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of at least 8.0 percent, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of at least 6.0 percent, (iii) has a CET1 ratio of at least 4.5 percent, (iv) has a Tier 1 leverage ratio of at least 4.0 percent, and (v) does not meet the definition of "well capitalized." An institution will be classified as "undercapitalized" if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of less than 8.0 percent, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of less than 6.0 percent, (iii) has a CET1 ratio of less than 4.5 percent or (iv) has a Tier 1 leverage ratio of less than 4.0 percent. An institution will be classified as "significantly undercapitalized" if it (i) has a total risk-based capital ratio of less than 6.0 percent, (ii) has a Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio of less than 4.0 percent, (iii) has a CET1 ratio of less than 3.0 percent or (iv) has a Tier 1 leverage ratio of less than 3.0 percent. An institution will be classified as "critically undercapitalized" if it has a Tier 1 leverage ratio that is equal to or less than 2.0 percent. An insured depository institution may be deemed to be in a lower capitalization category if it receives an unsatisfactory examination rating. Similar categories apply to bank holding companies. Because the capital conservation buffer is now fully phased in, the capital ratios applicable to depository institutions will exceed the ratios to be considered well-capitalized under the prompt corrective action regulations.

Under these capital rules, the Bank’s CET1 risk-based capital, Tier 1 risk-based capital, total risk-based capital and leverage capital ratios were 11.11%, 11.11% ,12.15%, and 9.40%, respectively, at December 31, 2020. The Bank is classified as a non-advanced approaches bank for regulatory purposes and has permanently opted out of including the amount of accumulated other comprehensive income in the computation of regulatory capital.

On September 17, 2019, the federal banking agencies issued a final rule providing simplified capital requirements for certain community banking organizations (banks and holding companies) with less than $10 billion in total consolidated assets, implementing provisions of The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. Under the proposal, a qualifying community banking organization would be eligible to elect the community bank leverage ratio (“CBLR”) framework, or continue to measure capital under the existing Basel III requirements. The new rule took effect on January 1, 2020, and qualifying community banking organizations may elect to opt into the new CBLR in their call report for the first quarter of 2020. We did not elect to use the CBLR framework.

Restrictions on Dividends and Redemption of Stock for the Company and the Bank

The primary source of cash to pay dividends, if any, to the Company’s shareholders and to meet the Company’s obligations are dividends paid to the Company by the Bank. Dividend payments by the Bank to the Company are subject to the New Jersey Banking Act of 1948 (the "Banking Act") and the Federal Deposit Insurance Act (the "FDIA"). Under the Banking Act, the Bank may not pay dividends unless, following the dividend payment, the capital stock of the Bank will be unimpaired and (i) the Bank will have a surplus of not less than 50% of its capital stock or, if not, (ii) the payment of such dividend will not reduce the surplus of the Bank. Under the FDIA, the Bank may not pay any dividends if, after paying the dividend, it would be undercapitalized under applicable capital requirements. In addition to these explicit limitations, the federal regulatory agencies are authorized to prohibit a banking subsidiary or bank holding company from engaging in an unsafe or unsound banking practice. Depending upon the circumstances, the agencies could take the position that paying a dividend would constitute an unsafe or unsound banking practice. The Bank is also limited in paying dividends if it does not maintain the
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necessary capital conservation buffer” as discussed below and above under the section titled Capital Adequacy of the Company and the Bank.”

Dividend payments by the Company to its shareholders are subject to a the policy of the Federal Reserve Board which provides that bank holding companies should pay cash dividends on common stock only out of income available over the immediately preceding year and only if prospective earnings retention is consistent with the organization’s expected future needs and financial condition. The policy provides further that bank holding companies should not maintain a level of cash dividends that undermines the bank holding company’s ability to serve as a source of strength to its banking subsidiary. A bank holding company may not pay dividends when it is insolvent.

The Federal Reserve Board has issued a supervisory letter to bank holding companies that contains guidance on when the board of directors of a bank holding company should eliminate or defer or severely limit dividends, including, for example, when net income available for shareholders for the past four quarters, net of dividends paid during that period, is not sufficient to fully fund the dividends. The letter also contains guidance on the redemption of stock by bank holding companies which urges bank holding companies to advise the Federal Reserve Board of any such redemption or repurchase of common stock for cash or other value that results in the net reduction of a bank holding company’s capital at the beginning of the quarter below the capital outstanding at the end of the quarter. The Company’s payment of cash dividends to date were within the guidelines set forth in the Federal Reserve Board’s supervisory letter.

Subsequent to the issuance of the supervisory letter, the Federal Reserve Board adopted regulations requiring bank holding companies to give prior written notice to the Federal Reserve Board before purchasing or redeeming its stock if the gross consideration for the purchase or redemption, when aggregated with the net consideration (i.e., gross consideration paid for purchases and redemptions minus gross consideration received for all stock sold) paid for all purchases or redemptions of stock during the preceding 12 months, is equal to 10% or more of the bank holding company’s consolidated net worth. However, if a bank holding company (i) will be well-capitalized before and immediately after the purchase or redemption, (ii) is well-managed and (iii) is not the subject of any unresolved supervisory issues, then the bank holding company will not be required to give any prior written notice to the Federal Reserve Board. At this time, the Company fits within the above exception and is not required to give prior written notice to the Federal Reserve Board before purchasing or redeeming its stock.

The Federal Reserve Board’s capital adequacy rules also limit a banking organization’s ability to pay dividends or to engage in share repurchases if the banking organization does not hold a "capital conservation buffer" consisting of 2.5% of Common Equity Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets in addition to the amount necessary to meet its minimum risk-based capital requirements. For further discussion of regulatory capital rules, please refer to the discussion under the above section titled "Capital Adequacy of the Company and the Bank."

The timing and the amount of the payment of future dividends, if any, on the Company's common shares will be at the discretion of the Company's Board of Directors and will be determined after consideration of various factors, including the level of earnings, cash requirements, regulatory capital and financial condition.

Priority on Liquidation

The Company is a legal entity separate and distinct from the Bank. The rights of the Company as the sole shareholder of the Bank, and therefore the rights of the Company’s creditors and shareholders, to participate in the distributions and earnings of the Bank when the Bank is not in receivership under Federal banking laws, are subject to various state and federal law restrictions as discussed above under the heading "Restrictions on Dividends and Redemption of Stock for the Company and the Bank." In the event of a liquidation or other resolution of an insured depository institution such as the Bank, the claims of depositors and other general or subordinated creditors are entitled to a priority of payment over the claims of holders of an obligation of the institution to its shareholders (the Company) or any shareholder or creditor of the Company. The claims on the Bank by creditors include obligations in respect of federal funds purchased and certain other borrowings, as well as deposit liabilities.

Financial Institution Legislation

Dodd-Frank Act

The Dodd-Frank Act has had a broad impact on the financial services industry, including significant regulatory and compliance requirements, including, among other things, (i) enhanced resolution authority of troubled and failing banks and
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their holding companies; (ii) increased capital and liquidity requirements; (iii) increased regulatory examination fees; (iv) changes to assessments to be paid to the FDIC for federal deposit insurance; and (v) numerous other provisions designed to improve supervision and oversight of, and strengthen safety and soundness for, the financial services sector. Additionally, the Dodd-Frank Act established a framework for systemic risk oversight within the financial system to be distributed among federal regulatory agencies, including the Financial Stability Oversight Council, the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the FDIC.

Effective July 2011, the Dodd-Frank Act eliminated federal prohibitions on paying interest on demand deposits, thus allowing businesses to have interest bearing checking accounts. As of the date of this Form 10-K, the Bank does not pay interest on demand deposits. This significant change to existing law has not had an adverse impact on our net interest margin for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018.

The Dodd-Frank Act also changed the base for FDIC deposit insurance assessments. Assessments are based on average consolidated total assets less tangible equity capital of a financial institution, rather than on deposits. The Dodd-Frank Act also increased the maximum amount of deposit insurance for banks, savings institutions and credit unions to $250,000 per account owner. However, if an Interest on Lawyer Trust Account ("IOLTA") qualifies for pass-through coverage as a fiduciary account, then each separate client for whom a law firm holds funds in such IOLTA may be insured up to $250,000 for his or her funds. The legislation also increased the required minimum reserve ratio for the Deposit Insurance Fund, from 1.15% to 1.35% of insured deposits, and directed the FDIC to offset the effects of increased assessments on depository institutions with less than $10 billion in assets, including the Bank.

The Dodd-Frank Act requires publicly traded companies to give their shareholders a non-binding vote on executive compensation ("say on pay") and so-called "golden parachute" payments. It also provides that the listing standards of the national securities exchanges shall require listed companies to implement and disclose "clawback" policies mandating the recovery of incentive compensation paid to executive officers in connection with accounting restatements. Such listing standards have yet to be implemented. For further discussion of incentive compensation rules, please refer to the discussion under the below section titled "Incentive Compensation."

The Dodd-Frank Act created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with broad powers to supervise and enforce consumer protection laws. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has broad rule-making authority for a wide range of consumer protection laws that apply to all banks and savings institutions, including the authority to prohibit "unfair, deceptive or abusive" acts and practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has examination and enforcement authority over all banks and savings institutions with more than $10 billion in assets, which authority does not extend to the Bank at this time since we do not meet the asset threshold.

The Dodd-Frank Act also weakens the federal preemption rules that have been applicable to national banks and federal savings associations, and gives state attorneys general the ability to enforce federal consumer protection laws. The Dodd-Frank Act requires minimum leverage (Tier 1) and risk based capital requirements for bank and savings and loan holding companies, which exclude certain instruments that previously have been eligible for inclusion by bank holding companies as Tier 1 capital, such as trust preferred securities; however, bank holding companies with assets of less than $15 billion as of December 31, 2009 are permitted to include trust preferred securities that were issued before May 19, 2010 as Tier 1 capital.

The Dodd-Frank Act and the rules and regulations promulgated under the Dodd-Frank Act have impacted the Bank, as well as all community banks, by increasing our operating and compliance costs. To the extent the Dodd-Frank Act remains in place, it is likely to further increase our operating and compliance costs as certain yet to be written implementing rules and regulations are enacted.

Volcker Rule

On December 10, 2013, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the FDIC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the SEC issued final rules to implement the Volcker Rule contained in Section 619 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which became effective on July 21, 2015, for investments in covered funds made after December 31, 2013. The Volcker Rule prohibits an insured depository institution and its affiliates from: (i) engaging in "proprietary trading" and (ii) investing in or sponsoring certain types of funds (defined as "Covered Funds") subject to certain limited exceptions. The rule also effectively prohibits short-term trading strategies by any U.S. banking entity if those strategies involve instruments other than those specifically permitted for trading and prohibits the use of some hedging strategies. In July 2019, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the FDIC, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the SEC adopted a final rule to exempt certain community banks, including the Bank, from the Volcker Rule, consistent with The
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Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act. Under the final rule, community banks with $10 billion or less in total consolidated assets and total trading assets and liabilities of 5.0% or less of total consolidated assets are excluded from the restrictions of the Volcker Rule.

Incentive Compensation

The Dodd-Frank Act requires the federal bank regulatory agencies and the SEC to establish joint regulations or guidelines prohibiting incentive-based payment arrangements at specified regulated entities with at least $1 billion in total assets, such as the Company and the Bank, that encourage inappropriate risks by providing an executive officer, employee, director or principal shareholder with excessive compensation, fees, or benefits or that could lead to material financial loss to the entity. In addition, these agencies must establish regulations or guidelines requiring enhanced disclosure to regulators of incentive-based compensation arrangements. The agencies proposed such regulations in April 2011 and subsequently proposed revised regulations in May 2016, but the revised regulations have not been finalized. If the revised regulations are adopted in the form proposed, they will impose limitations on the manner in which the Company may structure compensation for its executives and employees.

In 2010, the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the FDIC issued comprehensive final guidance on incentive compensation policies intended to ensure that the incentive compensation policies of banking organizations do not undermine the safety and soundness of such organizations by encouraging excessive risk-taking. The guidance, which covers all employees that have the ability to materially affect the risk profile of an organization, either individually or as part of a group, is based on the key principles that a banking organization’s incentive compensation arrangements should (i) provide incentives that do not encourage risk-taking beyond the organization’s ability to effectively identify and manage risks, (ii) be compatible with effective internal controls and risk management, and (iii) be supported by strong corporate governance, including active and effective oversight by the organization’s board of directors. These three principles are incorporated into the proposed joint compensation regulations under the Dodd-Frank Act.

The Federal Reserve will review, as part of its regular, risk-focused examination process, the incentive compensation arrangements of banking organizations, such as the Company, that are not "large, complex banking organizations." These reviews will be tailored to each organization based on the scope and complexity of the organization’s activities and the prevalence of incentive compensation arrangements. The findings of the supervisory initiatives will be included in reports of examination. Deficiencies will be incorporated into the organization’s supervisory ratings, which can affect the organization’s ability to make acquisitions and take other actions. Enforcement actions may be taken against a banking organization if its incentive compensation arrangements, or related risk-management control or governance processes, pose a risk to the organization’s safety and soundness and the organization is not taking prompt and effective measures to correct the deficiencies.

Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999

The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (the "Modernization Act") became effective in early 2000. The Modernization Act:

allows bank holding companies meeting management, capital and Community Reinvestment Act standards to engage in a substantially broader range of non-banking activities, including insurance underwriting and making merchant banking investments in commercial and financial companies; if a bank holding company elects to become a financial holding company, it files a certification, effective in 30 days, and thereafter may engage in certain financial activities without further approvals;
allows banks to establish subsidiaries to engage in certain activities that a financial holding company could engage in, provided that the bank meets certain management, capital and Community Reinvestment Act standards; and
allows insurers and other financial services companies to acquire banks and removes various restrictions applicable to bank holding company ownership of securities firms and mutual fund advisory companies; and establishes the overall regulatory structure applicable to financial holding companies that also engage in insurance and securities operations.

The Modernization Act also amended the BHCA and the Bank Merger Act to require the federal banking agencies to consider the effectiveness of a financial institution’s anti-money laundering activities when reviewing an application under these acts. The Modernization Act modified other laws, including laws related to financial privacy and community reinvestment.

Additional proposals to change the laws and regulations governing the banking and financial services industry are
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frequently introduced in Congress, in state legislatures and before the various bank regulatory agencies. The likelihood and timing of any such changes and the impact such changes might have on the Company cannot be determined at this time.

Public Company Legislation

Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley Act”), which became law on July 30, 2002, added legal requirements affecting corporate governance, accounting and corporate reporting for companies with publicly traded securities.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act provides for, among other things:

a prohibition on personal loans made or arranged by the issuer to its directors and executive officers (except for loans made by a bank subject to Regulation O of the Federal Reserve Board);
independence requirements for audit committee members;
disclosure of whether at least one member of the audit committee is a "financial expert" (as such term is defined by the SEC and if not, why not;
independence requirements for outside auditors;
a prohibition on a company’s registered public accounting firm from performing statutorily mandated audit services for the company if the company’s chief executive officer, chief financial officer, comptroller, chief accounting officer or any person serving in equivalent positions had been employed by such firm and participated in the audit of such company during the one-year period preceding the audit initiation date;
certification of financial statements and annual and quarterly reports by the principal executive officer and the principal financial officer;
the forfeiture of bonuses or other incentive-based compensation and profits from the sale of an issuer’s securities by directors and senior officers in the twelve month period following initial publication of any financial statements that later require restatement due to corporate misconduct;
disclosure of off-balance sheet transactions;
two-business day filing requirements for insiders filing Forms 4;
disclosure of a code of ethics for financial officers and filing a Form 8-K for a change or waiver of such code;
"real time" filing of periodic reports;
posting of certain SEC filings and other information on the company’s website;
the reporting of securities violations "up the ladder" by both in-house and outside attorneys;
restrictions on the use of non-GAAP financial measures;
the formation of a public accounting oversight board; and
various increased criminal penalties for violations of securities laws.

Additionally, Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that a public company subject to the reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), include in its annual report (i) a management’s report on internal control over financial reporting assessing the company’s internal controls, and (ii) if the company is an "accelerated filer" or a "large accelerated filer", an auditor’s attestation report, completed by the registered public accounting firm that prepares or issues an accountant’s report which is included in the company’s annual report, attesting to the effectiveness of management’s internal control assessment.

Under applicable rules, the Company is a smaller reporting company and no longer qualifies as an accelerated filer. As a result, the Company is not required to include an attestation report of its independent registered public accounting firm regarding the Company’s internal control over financial reporting in this Form 10-K.

Each of the national stock exchanges, including the Nasdaq Global Market where the Company’s common stock is listed, have in place corporate governance rules, including rules requiring director independence, and the adoption of charters for the nominating, corporate governance, and audit committees. These rules are intended to, among other things, make the board of directors independent of management and allow shareholders to more easily and efficiently monitor the performance of companies and directors. These burdens increase the Company’s legal and accounting fees and the amount of time that the Board of Directors and management must devote to corporate governance issues.
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Section 302(a) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires the Company’s principal executive officer and principal financial officer to certify that the Company’s Quarterly and Annual Reports do not contain any untrue statement of a material fact or omit to state a material fact necessary to make the statements made, in light of circumstances under which they were made, not misleading. Among other things, these officers must certify that: they are responsible for establishing, maintaining and regularly evaluating the effectiveness of the Company’s disclosure controls and procedures and internal control over financial reporting; they have made certain disclosures to the Company’s auditors and the audit committee of the Board of Directors about the Company’s internal control over financial reporting; and they have included information in the Company’s Quarterly and Annual Reports about their evaluation of disclosure controls and procedures and whether there have been significant changes in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.

Banking Legislation and Regulations
Anti-Money Laundering

As part of the USA PATRIOT Act, signed into law on October 26, 2001, Congress adopted the International Money Laundering Abatement and Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001 (the "FATA"). The FATA authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the heads of other government agencies, to adopt special measures applicable to financial institutions such as banks, bank holding companies, broker-dealers and insurance companies. Among its other provisions, the FATA requires each financial institution: (i) to establish an anti-money laundering program; (ii) to establish due diligence policies, procedures and controls that are reasonably designed to detect and report instances of money laundering in United States private banking accounts and correspondent accounts maintained for non-United States persons or their representatives; and (iii) to avoid establishing, maintaining, administering, or managing correspondent accounts in the United States for, or on behalf of, a foreign shell bank that does not have a physical presence in any country. In addition, the FATA expands the circumstances under which funds in a bank account may be forfeited and requires covered financial institutions to respond under certain circumstances to requests for information from federal banking agencies within 120 hours.

The Department of Treasury has issued regulations implementing the due diligence requirements. These regulations require minimum standards to verify customer identity and maintain accurate records, encourage cooperation among financial institutions, federal banking agencies, and law enforcement authorities regarding possible money laundering or terrorist activities, prohibit the anonymous use of "concentration accounts," and require all covered financial institutions to have in place an anti-money laundering compliance program.

Community Reinvestment Act

Under the Community Reinvestment Act (the "CRA"), as implemented by FDIC regulations, a bank has a continuing and affirmative obligation, consistent with its safe and sound operation, to help meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The CRA does not establish specific lending requirements or programs for financial institutions, nor does it limit an institution’s discretion to develop the types of products and services that it believes are best suited to its particular community, consistent with CRA. The CRA requires the FDIC to assess an institution’s record of meeting the credit needs of its community and to take such record into account in its evaluation of certain applications by the applicable institution. The CRA requires public disclosure of an institution’s CRA rating and requires that the FDIC provide a written evaluation of an institution’s CRA performance utilizing a four-tiered descriptive rating system. An institution’s CRA rating is considered in determining whether to grant charters, branches and other deposit facilities, relocations, mergers, consolidations and acquisitions. Performance less than satisfactory may be the basis for denying an application. At its last CRA examination, the Bank was rated "satisfactory" under the CRA.

Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989

Under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 ("FIRREA"), a depository institution insured by the FDIC can be held liable for any loss incurred by, or reasonably expected to be incurred by, the FDIC in connection with (i) the default of a commonly controlled FDIC-insured depository institution or (ii) any assistance provided by the FDIC to a commonly controlled FDIC-insured depository institution in danger of default. These provisions have commonly been referred to as FIRREA’s "cross guarantee" provisions. Further, under FIRREA, the failure to meet capital guidelines could subject a bank to a variety of enforcement remedies available to federal regulatory authorities.

FIRREA also imposes certain independent appraisal requirements upon a bank’s real estate lending activities and further imposes certain loan-to-value restrictions on a bank’s real estate lending activities. Banking regulators have promulgated
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regulations in these areas.

Insurance of Deposits

The Bank’s deposits are insured up to applicable limits by the Deposit Insurance Fund of the FDIC. This limit is $250,000 per account owner. FDICIA is applicable to depository institutions and deposit insurance. The FDIC established a risk-based assessment system for all insured depository institutions and established an insurance premium assessment system based upon: (i) the probability that the insurance fund will incur a loss with respect to the institution, (ii) the likely amount of the loss, and (iii) the revenue needs of the insurance fund. The resulting matrix sets the assessment premium for a particular institution in accordance with its capital level and overall rating by the primary regulator.

As a result of the Dodd-Frank Act, the FDIC modified its assessment rules so that an institution’s deposit insurance assessment base changed from total deposits to total assets less tangible equity. These assessment base rates range from 2.5 to 9 basis points for Risk Category I banks and up to 45 basis points for Risk Category IV banks. Risk Category II and III banks have assessment base rates ranging from 9 to 33 basis points, respectively. If the risk category of the Bank changes adversely, our FDIC insurance premiums could increase.

Lending Limits

In January 2013, the NJ Banking Department issued an order requiring a New Jersey-chartered bank’s calculation of lending limits to any person or entity to include credit exposure to such person or entity arising from a derivative transaction, repurchase agreement, reverse repurchase agreement, securities lending transaction or securities borrowing transaction. Previously, such credit exposure was not included in a New Jersey-chartered bank’s calculation of lending limits. New Jersey-chartered banks must comply with the operative provisions of the order, which include compliance with all of the rules set forth in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s rules on lending limits (codified at 12 C.F.R pts. 32, 159 and 160). This change in the calculation of lending limits did not have a significant impact on the Bank’s operations.

Information about our Executive Officers

Robert F. Mangano, 75, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company and of the Bank, in which roles he has served since 1996. Prior to joining the Bank in 1996, Mr. Mangano was President and Chief Executive Officer of Urban National Bank, a community bank in northern New Jersey, for a period of three years and a Senior Vice President of another bank for one year. Prior to such time, Mr. Mangano held a senior position with Midlantic Corporation for 21 years. Mr. Mangano is Chairman of the Audit Committee of the Englewood Hospital Medical Center and serves on the Board of Trustees of Englewood Hospital Medical Center and its parent board.

Stephen J. Gilhooly, 68, has served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Company and the Bank and as the Treasurer of the Company since April 1, 2014. Prior to April 1, 2014, Mr. Gilhooly served as the Bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Gilhooly most recently served as Senior Vice President and Treasurer of Florida Community Bank, Weston, Florida, from May 2011 to June 2013. Prior to joining Florida Community Bank, Mr. Gilhooly served as Executive Vice President and Treasurer of the banking subsidiaries of Capital Bank Financial Corporation (formerly North American Financial Holdings) (“CBF”) beginning in September 2010. Mr. Gilhooly served as Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer of TIB Financial Corp. (“TIB”), Naples, Florida, from 2006 to 2010, prior to its acquisition by CBF. Before joining TIB, Mr. Gilhooly worked for 15 years with Advest, Inc. in New York as Director in its Financial Institutions Group. Mr. Gilhooly earned a B.S. degree in Economics and a M.S. degree in Accounting from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Global Management Accountant.
John T. Andreacio, 58, has served as the Executive Vice President and Chief Lending and Credit Officer of the Company since January 2018 and of the Bank since September 2014. Mr. Andreacio joined the Company in March 2012 and has used his extensive management and credit knowledge to enhance the Company’s credit and lending function. Prior to joining the Bank, Mr. Andreacio was President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern State Bank, a community bank in northern New Jersey, for a period of three years. Prior to that time, Mr. Andreacio held senior positions with National Penn Bank/KNBT and First Union Bank.

Naqi A. Naqvi, 64, has served as the Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting Officer of the Company and the Bank since May 7, 2018. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Naqvi served as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of NJCB from March 3, 2012 to April 11, 2018, when NJCB was merged with and into the Bank.  Prior to joining NJCB in early
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2010, Mr. Naqvi held a number of senior management roles at financial institutions, including Greater Community Bancorp and Village Bank of South Orange. Mr. Naqvi started his career at First Virginia Bank before joining Village Bank of South Orange in 1983. He then joined Greater Community Bancorp in 1986 as Treasurer and was subsequently elevated to Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer during his 22 years of service with Greater Community Bancorp. Mr. Naqvi is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in accounting and finance.

There are no family relationships between any of the executive officers named above and there is no arrangement or understanding between any of such officers and any other person pursuant to which he was selected as an executive officer. Each of the executive officers named above was elected by the Board of Directors to hold office until his successor is elected and qualified or until his earlier resignation or removal.

Available Information

The Internet website address of the Company is www.1stconstitution.com. The content on any website referred to in this Form 10-K is not incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K unless expressly noted. The Company’s Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements, and amendments to those reports, and statements filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, are made available free of charge, on or through our Internet website, as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. The SEC’s website, www.sec.gov, contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC.

We also make available, free of charge, through the investors page on our website, charters of the committees of our Board of Directors, as well as other information and materials, including information about how to contact our Board of Directors, its committees and their members.

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

The following are certain factors that could cause the Company’s actual results to differ materially from those referred to or implied in any forward-looking statement. These are in addition to the risks and uncertainties discussed elsewhere in this Form 10-K and the Company’s other filings with the SEC.

Risks Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the measures implemented in response intended to prevent its spread have adversely affected, and are likely to continue to adversely affect, our customers, employees, and third-parties with which we conduct business, which has consequently affected our business, results of operations and financial condition, the ultimate impact of which will depend on future developments that are highly uncertain and are difficult to predict at this time, but could be significant.

The outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China and its rapid spread has caused global disruption in the financial markets and our primary market is increasingly threatened by the continued spread of this virus. The ultimate impact of COVID-19 is uncertain at this time, but the known effects of, and risks posed by, the pandemic on our business, results of operations and financial condition are discussed below.

In response to public health concerns resulting from the pandemic, governments around the world have implemented a variety of precautionary measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including travel restrictions and bans, instructions to residents to practice social distancing, quarantine advisories, shelter-in-place orders and required closures of non-essential businesses. These government mandates have forced many of our customers and vendors, which are primarily located in northern and central New Jersey, communities along the New Jersey shore and the New York City metropolitan area, to seek government support in order to continue operating, to curtail drastically their service offerings or to cease operations entirely.

In addition, these measures have negatively affected, and may further affect, consumer sentiment and discretionary spending patterns, economies and financial markets, and our workforce, operations and customers. Among other measures, we have implemented a work-from-home policy for our employees whose jobs can be performed remotely, provided employees who are not working remotely with appropriate protective equipment and supplies, adjusted branch hours and temporarily closed all of our branch lobbies, except on an appointment only basis. However, in mid-June we re-opened the interior access to all of our branch offices to customers. These changes in our operations in response to COVID-19 have impacted the way that we operate and conduct business, and have resulted in inefficiencies or delays, including additional costs related to business
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continuity initiatives, employees working remotely or teleconferencing technologies. The pandemic and widespread responses thereto have also caused significant volatility in financial markets, including the market price of our common stock.

The known consequences of and responses to the pandemic, including the public health problems resulting from COVID-19 and precautionary measures instituted by governments and businesses to mitigate its spread, particularly in our primary market areas, have raised the prospect of an extended global recession, which would adversely impact the businesses of our customers, clients, counterparties and service providers, as well as other market participants, and could further disrupt our operations. Other known impacts and anticipated risks of the COVID-19 pandemic include, but are not limited to, the following:

a.We primarily operate in northern and central New Jersey, communities along the New Jersey shore and the New York City metropolitan area, which are among some of the most affected areas in the U.S. and, accordingly, are the most likely geographies to remain subject to governmental restrictions aimed at curtailing household and non-essential business activity to contain COVID-19 for a prolonged period. The longer that our clients, customers, communities and business partners remain subject to such restrictions, the greater the likelihood that economic and demand uncertainty will increase, which could negatively impact, among other things, demand for and profitability of the Bank’s products and services and our liquidity, regulatory capital and growth strategy.
b.Concern about the spread of COVID-19 and the measures enacted to mitigate its spread have already caused and are likely to continue to cause business shutdowns and interruptions, increased unemployment, labor shortages and commercial property vacancies, and supply chain disruptions, all of which contribute to economic and financial market instability and which, in turn, could impact the ability of our customers to make scheduled loan payments. If the pandemic results in widespread and sustained repayment shortfalls on loans in our portfolio, we could incur significant delinquencies, foreclosures and credit losses, particularly if the available collateral is insufficient to cover our exposure.
c.Our financial performance, the ability of borrowers to pay interest on and repay principal of outstanding loans, and the value of the collateral securing such loans is highly dependent upon the business environment in the U.S. generally and in northern and central New Jersey, communities along the New Jersey shore and the New York City metropolitan area in particular. Further economic downturn resulting from the pandemic, particularly in our primary market areas, could negatively impact the collateral values associated with our existing loans, the ability to liquidate the real estate collateral securing our residential and commercial real estate loans, our ability to maintain loan origination volume and to obtain additional financing, and the financial condition and credit risk of our customers, among other credit risks.
d.Future legislative responses and regulatory policy changes to protect borrowers, such as forbearance, waiver of late payment and other fees, and the suspension of foreclosures, may have a negative impact on our business, financial condition, liquidity and results of operations. We may need to further increase the allowance for loan losses if borrowers experience financial difficulties beyond forbearance periods, which would adversely affect our net income.
e.Our ability to meet customer servicing expectations may be limited due to certain operational risks as a result of our reduced hours, branch lobby closures and work-from-home policy, as described above, including reduced productivity in our workforce, less reliable and more limited access to the networks, information systems, applications and other tools available to employees, as well as increased cybersecurity and information security risk.
f.In addition, our reliance on third-party service providers and vendors exposes us to certain operational risks to the extent that such service providers and vendors continue to have limited capacities for a prolonged period or if additional limitations or potential disruptions in these services materialize. By way of example, our business depends on vendors that supply essential services such as loan servicers, providers of financial information, systems and analytical tools and providers of electronic payment and settlement systems, among others. Without these services, we have experienced and will continue to experience delays in originating and closing loans.
g.During this challenging economic environment, our communities are increasingly relying on us to access necessary capital and our customers are more dependent on our credit commitments. Increased borrowings under these commitments could adversely impact our liquidity. Moreover, our management has been focused on meeting clients’ needs and mitigating the impact of the pandemic on our business, which has required and will continue to require a substantial investment of time and resources across our enterprise. This has resulted and can be expected to continue to result in a diversion of management attention.
h.Historically low interest rates caused by uncertainties stemming from COVID-19 could negatively impact our net interest income, lending activities, deposits and profitability.

The duration, extent and impact of the pandemic, including resurgences in our primary market areas, sporadic resurgences following a period of containment and restrictions, the severity of newly identified strains of the virus and the timing, availability and efficacy of the various COVID-19 vaccines, continue to be nearly impossible to estimate at this time. However, each of these risks and uncertainties can be expected to persist at least until the pandemic is demonstrably and sustainably
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contained, authorities cease curbing household and business activity, and consumer and business confidence recover. The COVID-19 pandemic and the volatile economic conditions stemming from it could also precipitate, enhance or contribute to the other risk factors identified in this Form 10-K, which in turn could materially adversely affect our business, financial position, results of operations, prospects, and stock price, and may also affect our business in a manner that is not presently known or that we currently do not consider to present significant risks to our business, financial position, results of operations or prospects.

As a participating lender in the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”), we are exposed to additional litigation risk and credit risks.

To support our customers, businesses and communities, we are participating in the PPP established under the CARES Act, notwithstanding that our participation in this federal relief program exposes the Company and the Bank to additional litigation risk. Several national banking associations have already been subject to litigation regarding their respective procedures for processing PPP applications. The Company and the Bank may be exposed to the risk of litigation, from both clients and non-clients that approached the Bank regarding PPP loans, regarding the manner in which we processed PPP applications. Any such litigation regardless of the outcome, may result in significant financial liability or adversely affect the Company’s reputation.

Our participation in the PPP and any other relief programs established under the CARES Act further exposes us to certain credit risks. Among other regulatory requirements, PPP loans are subject to forbearance of loan payments for a six-month period to the extent that loans are not eligible for forgiveness. If PPP borrowers fail to qualify for loan forgiveness, we have a greater risk of holding these loans at unfavorable interest rates as compared to the loans to customers that we would have otherwise extended credit. Additionally, there is risk that the SBA could conclude there is a deficiency in the manner in which the Bank originated, funded, or serviced PPP loans, which may or may not be related to the ambiguity in the CARES Act or the rules and guidance promulgated by the SBA and the U.S. Department of the Treasury thereunder regarding the operation of the PPP.

Risks Related to Changes in Interest Rates and Market Volatility

Changes in interest rates and historically low interest rates could adversely affect our net interest income and profitability.

The Company’s earnings are largely dependent upon its net interest income. Net interest income is the difference between interest income earned on interest-earning assets, such as loans and securities, and interest expense paid on interest-bearing liabilities, such as deposits and borrowed funds. Changes in monetary policy, including changes in interest rates, could influence not only the interest the Company receives on loans and securities and the amount of interest it pays on deposits and borrowings, but could also affect (i) the Company’s ability to originate loans and obtain deposits, (ii) the fair value of the Company’s financial assets and liabilities, and (iii) the average duration of the Company’s mortgage-backed securities portfolio. If the spread between the interest rates paid on deposits and other borrowings and the interest rates received on loans and other investments narrows, the Company’s net interest income, and therefore earnings, could be adversely affected. This also includes the risk that interest-earning assets may be more responsive to changes in interest rates than interest-bearing liabilities, or vice versa (repricing risk), the risk that the individual interest rates or rate indices underlying various interest-earning assets and interest-bearing liabilities may not change in the same degree over a given time period (basis risk), and the risk of changing interest rate relationships across the spectrum of interest-earning asset and interest-bearing liability maturities (yield curve risk).

Interest rates are highly sensitive to many factors that are beyond the Company’s control, including general economic conditions and policies of various governmental and regulatory agencies and, in particular, the Federal Reserve Board. The Federal Reserve Board acted to decrease the targeted fed funds interest rates to 0%-0.25% in March 2020, and it is anticipated that interest rates could remain near zero through 2023. This may cause our net interest margin to decline, which may have an adverse effect on our profitability. Although management believes it has implemented effective asset and liability management strategies to reduce the potential effects of changes in interest rates on the Company’s results of operations, any substantial, unexpected, prolonged change in market interest rates could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.

The price of our common stock has fluctuated widely and may continue to fluctuate as a result of recent market uncertainty and volatility.

The price of our common stock on the NASDAQ Global Market constantly changes and recently, given the uncertainty in the financial markets, has fluctuated widely. From the beginning of fiscal year 2019 through the end of fiscal year 2020, our closing stock price fluctuated between a high of $22.46 per share and a low of $9.88 per share. We expect that the market closing price of our common stock will continue to fluctuate. Consequently, the current market price of our common stock may
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not be indicative of future market prices, and we may be unable to sustain or increase the value of an investment in our common stock regardless of our operating results. Our common stock price can fluctuate as a result of a variety of factors, many of which are beyond our control and include:

quarterly fluctuations in our operating and financial results;
operating results that vary from the expectations of management, securities analysts and investors;
changes in expectations as to our future financial performance, including financial estimates by securities analysts and investors;
events negatively impacting the financial services industry which result in a general decline in the market valuation of our common stock;
announcements of material developments affecting our operations or our dividend policy;
future sales of our equity securities;
new laws or regulations or new interpretations of existing laws or regulations applicable to our business;
changes in accounting standards, policies, guidance, interpretations or principles;
interest rate changes or credit loss trends; and
general domestic economic and market conditions.

Risks Related to the Company’s Lending Activities

A downturn in economic conditions in general, or the economic conditions and/or real estate market in our primary market areas in particular, would adversely affect our loan portfolio, which is secured primarily by real estate in a concentrated geographic area, and our growth potential.

Substantially all of the loans the Company originates are secured by properties located in, or are made to businesses that operate in, northern and central New Jersey, communities along the New Jersey shore and the New York City metropolitan area. As a result of this geographic concentration, a significant broad-based deterioration in economic conditions in our primary market areas could have a material adverse impact on the quality of the Company’s loan portfolio, results of operations and future growth potential. A prolonged decline in economic conditions in our primary market areas could result in increased unemployment, downward pressure on the value of residential or commercial real estate, or other conditions that limit or restrict borrowers’ ability to pay outstanding principal and interest on loans when due, and consequently, adversely affect the cash flows and results of operations of the Company’s business and our earnings.

In addition, conditions in the real estate markets in which the collateral for the Company’s loans are located strongly influence the level of the Company’s non-performing loans and results of operations. A downturn in the real estate markets in the Company’s primary market areas could result in an increase in the number of borrowers who default on loans and a reduction in the value of the collateral securing loans, which in turn could have an adverse effect on the Company’s profitability and asset quality. Further, if the Company is required to liquidate collateral securing a loan to satisfy the related debt during a period of reduced real estate values, the Company may experience higher loan losses than expected and its earnings and shareholders’ equity could be adversely affected. Any declines in real estate prices in the Company’s primary markets may also result in increases in delinquencies and losses in its loan portfolios. Unanticipated decreases in real estate prices coupled with a prolonged economic downturn and elevated levels of unemployment could drive loan losses beyond the level provided for in the Company’s allowance for loan losses. If this occurs, the Company’s earnings could be adversely affected.

For a discussion of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our loan portfolio and lending activities, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—COVID-19 Impact and Response.”

Our construction loan, commercial business and commercial real estate loan portfolio exposes us to increased lending risks.

At December 31, 2020, $129.2 million, or 9.0%, of our loan portfolio consisted of construction loans, and $807.7 million, or 56.3%, of our loan portfolio consisted of commercial business and commercial real estate loans. Construction financing is generally considered to involve a higher degree of credit risk than long-term financing on improved, owner-occupied residential real estate. These risks include the borrower’s inability to complete the construction process on time and within budget, the sale of the project within projected absorption periods, the economic risks associated with real estate collateral, and the potential of a rising interest rate environment. Because the sale and leasing of developed properties is integral to the success of developer’s business, loan repayments may be especially subject to changes in economic conditions, the volatility of real estate market values and the marketability of a construction project. Management has established underwriting and monitoring criteria to minimize the inherent risks of speculative commercial real estate construction lending and concentrates lending efforts with developers demonstrating successful performance on marketable projects within the Bank’s lending areas. However, this concentration of constructions loans exposes us to additional risk in the event of an adverse development with respect to one
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credit relationship. Further, there can be no assurance that any actions taken or policies implemented by management with respect to construction loans will successfully mitigate these risks.

As with our construction loans, the inherent primary risks of our commercial business and commercial real estate loans are deteriorating credit quality, a decline in the economy, and a decline in real estate market values in our primary market areas. Any one, or a combination, of these events may adversely affect the loan portfolio and may result in increased delinquencies, loan losses and increased future provision levels.

At December 31, 2020, one construction loan totaling $7.5 million and eleven commercial business and commercial real estate loans totaling $7.8 million were considered non-performing and on nonaccrual status. For more information about the quality of our construction loan and commercial business and real estate loan portfolio, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Financial Condition—Non-Performing Assets.”

Our emphasis on mortgage warehouse lines of credit is generally subject to unique risks than other lending activities.

At December 31, 2020, $388.4 million, or 27.1%, of our loan portfolio consisted of mortgage warehouse lines of credit. Our emphasis on mortgage warehouse lines of credit exposes us to additional risks that include, without limitation, (i) credit risks relating to the mortgage bankers that borrow from us, (ii) the risk of intentional misrepresentation or fraud by any of such mortgage bankers, (iii) changes in the market value of mortgage loans originated by the mortgage banker, the sale of which is the expected source of repayment of the borrowings under a warehouse line of credit, due to changes in interest rates during the time in warehouse, and (iv) unsalable or impaired mortgage loans so originated, which could lead to decreased collateral value and the failure of a purchaser of the mortgage loan to purchase the loan from the mortgage banker.

The impact of interest rates on our mortgage warehouse business can be significant. Changes in interest rates can impact the number of residential mortgages originated and initially funded under mortgage warehouse lines of credit and thus our mortgage warehouse related revenues. A decline in mortgage rates generally increases the demand for mortgage loans. Conversely, in a constant or increasing rate environment, we would expect fewer loans may be originated. Although we use models to assess the impact of interest rates on mortgage related revenues, the estimates of net income produced by these models are dependent on estimates and assumptions of future loan demand, prepayment speeds and other factors which may overstate or understate actual subsequent experience. Further, the concentration of our loan portfolio on loans originated through our mortgage warehouse business increases the risk associated with our loan portfolio generally because of the concentration of loans in a single line of business, namely one-to-four family residential mortgage lending, and in a particular segment of that business, namely mortgage warehouse lending.

If our allowance for loan losses is not sufficient to cover actual loan losses, our earnings could materially decrease.

We make various assumptions and judgments about the collectability of our loan portfolio, including the creditworthiness of our borrowers and the value of the real estate and other assets serving as collateral for the repayment of many of our loans. In determining the amount of the allowance for loan losses, we review our loans and our loan and delinquency experience, and we evaluate economic conditions. If our assumptions are incorrect, our allowance for loan losses may not be sufficient to cover losses inherent in our loan portfolio, resulting in additions to our allowance. In addition, bank regulators periodically review our loan portfolio and our allowance for loan losses and may require us to increase our provision for loan losses or recognize further loan charge-offs or reclassify loans. Any increase in our allowance for loan losses or loan charge-offs or loan reclassifications could materially decrease our net income and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic and social disruption, we significantly increased our allowance for loan losses, which has resulted in a $6.4 million increase in the allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2020 compared to December 31, 2019. For more information about our allowance for loan losses, see “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Results of Operations—Provision for Loan Losses.”

Risks Related to Strategic Activities and the Company’s Operations

The expected benefits from acquiring another entity may not be realized if we do not successfully integrate acquired banks and the combined bank does not achieve certain cost savings and other benefits.

While focusing on organic growth, our strategy also includes, in part, growth through acquisitions. The Company may not be able to identify suitable acquisition candidates, or complete acquisitions. Further, the success of any acquisition depends on the ability to effectively integrate the acquired business, including integrating operations and achieving synergies and cost efficiencies. We may experience difficulties in accomplishing this integration or in effectively managing the combined bank
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after any future acquisition. The integration of any acquired entity will also divert the attention of our management. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in integrating any future acquisitions into our own business.

Our belief that cost savings and revenue enhancements are achievable in any future acquisition is a forward-looking statement that is inherently uncertain. The combined bank’s actual cost savings and revenue enhancements, if any, for any future acquisition cannot be quantified at the time of acquisition. Any actual cost savings or revenue enhancements will depend on future expense levels and operating results, the timing of certain events and general industry, regulatory and business conditions. Many of these events will be beyond the control of the combined bank.

As a community bank, we face significant competition from both other banks and non-bank financial institutions for customers and the Bank's products and services, which compete against the rapidly changing technologies offered in the financial services industry.

The Company faces significant competition from many other banks, savings institutions and other financial institutions that have branch offices or otherwise operate in the Company’s market area. Non-bank financial institutions, such as securities brokerage firms, insurance companies and money market funds, engage in activities which compete directly with traditional bank business, which has also led to greater competition. Many of these competitors have substantially greater financial resources than the Company, including larger capital bases that allow them to attract customers seeking larger loans than the Company is able to accommodate, to aggressively advertise their products and to allocate considerable resources to locations and products perceived as profitable.

These competitors also have more resources and to invest in technological improvements. The financial services industry is continually undergoing rapid technological change with frequent introductions of new technology-driven products and services. The effective use of technology increases efficiency and enables financial institutions to better serve customers and may reduce costs. The Company’s future success depends, in part, upon its ability to address the needs of its customers by using technology to provide products and services that will satisfy customer demands, as well as to create additional efficiencies in the Company’s operations. The Company may not be able to effectively implement new technology-driven products and services or to successfully market these products and services to its customers. Failure to keep pace with technological change affecting the financial services industry, or otherwise successfully compete with these entities in the future, could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s business and, in turn, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations, due to loss of market share and income generated from loans, deposits and other financial products.

The Company is subject to operational risk due to our reliance on third party vendors and service providers.

We rely on certain external vendors to provide products and services necessary to maintain our day-to-day operations. These third parties provide key components of our business operations such as data processing, recording and monitoring transactions, online banking interfaces and services, internet connections and network access. While we have selected these third party vendors carefully, we do not control their actions. Any complications caused by these third parties, including those resulting from disruptions in communication or electrical services provided by a vendor, failure of a vendor to handle current or higher volumes, cyber-attacks and security breaches at a vendor, failure of a vendor to provide services for any reason or poor performance of services, could adversely affect our ability to deliver products and services to our customers and otherwise conduct our business. Financial or operational difficulties of a third party vendor could also hurt our operations if those difficulties interfere with the vendor’s ability to provide services. Furthermore, our vendors could also be sources of operational and information security risk, including from breakdowns or failures of their own systems or capacity constraints. Replacing these third party vendors could also create significant delay and expense. Problems caused by external vendors could be disruptive to our operations, which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Protecting against evolving cybersecurity and electronic fraud risks demands significant resources, and the loss of, or failure to adequately safeguard, confidential or proprietary information may adversely affect the Company’s business, financial operations or reputation.

Information security risks have generally increased in recent years because of the proliferation of new technologies and the increased sophistication and activities of perpetrators of cyber-attacks. Although cybersecurity incidents in the financial services industry are on the rise, we have not experienced any losses relating to cyber-attacks or other information security breaches. However, there can be no assurance that we will not suffer such losses in the future. A failure in or breach of the Company’s operational or information security systems, or those of the Company’s third-party service providers, as a result of cyber-attacks or information security breaches or due to employee error, malfeasance or other disruptions could adversely affect its business, result in the disclosure or misuse of confidential or proprietary information, damage its reputation, increase its
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costs and/or cause losses. Mishandling, misuse or loss of confidential or proprietary information could also result in significant regulatory consequences, reputational damage, civil litigation and financial loss. In addition, the Company may be required to expend significant additional resources to modify its protective measures, to investigate and remediate vulnerabilities or other exposures or to make required notifications or disclosure.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, certain of the Company’s employees have been working remotely, which arrangements contribute to heightened cybersecurity, information security and operational risks. The Company has not experienced any material impact to the Company’s internal control over financial reporting due to the fact that most of the Company’s employees responsible for financial reporting are working mostly in the office during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Company is continually monitoring and assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting to minimize any impact on the design and operating effectiveness.

As a result of such risks, the Company has significantly increased the resources dedicated to this effort and believes that further increases may be required in the future, in anticipation of increases in the sophistication and persistency of such attacks. The Company has and is likely to continue to incur additional costs in preparing its infrastructure and maintaining it to resist any such attacks. For example, the Company has introduced and continues to introduce systems and software to prevent cyber incidents and continues to review and strengthen its defenses to cybersecurity threats through the use of various services, programs and outside vendors. In addition to personnel dedicated to overseeing the infrastructure and systems to defend against cybersecurity incidents, senior management is regularly briefed on issues, preparedness and any incidents requiring response. At its regularly scheduled meetings, the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and the Board of Directors are periodically briefed and brought up to date on cybersecurity matters. The Company also continually reviews its internal controls, disclosure controls and procedures, corporate governance policies and procedures and cyber security policy to ensure that its systems and procedures remain up to date. However, any system of controls, regardless of how well designed and operated, is based in part on certain assumptions and can provide only reasonable, not absolute, assurances that the objectives of the system are met. Any failure or circumvention of the Company's controls and procedures or failure to comply with regulations related to controls and procedures could have a material adverse effect on the Company's business, results of operations and financial condition.

Notwithstanding the precautions we take to safeguard confidential and proprietary information, these measures do not provide absolute assurance that mishandling, misuse, loss and theft of the information will not occur, or that if mishandling, misuse loss of theft of the information did occur, those events would be promptly detected and addressed. Nor is there any guarantee that the Company's cybersecurity efforts will be successful in discovering or preventing a security breach, and any failure or failures to safeguard against such security breaches may have a material adverse impact on the Company’s business, financial results, or reputation. In the event that the Company experiences a material cybersecurity incident or identifies a material cybersecurity threat, the Company will make all reasonable efforts to properly disclose it in a timely fashion. However, it is impossible for the Company to know when or if such incidents may arise or the business impact of any such incident.

Risks Related to Legal, Regulatory and Policy Matters

The Company and the Bank operate in a highly regulated environment and may be adversely impacted by changes in law, regulations, and accounting policies.

The operations of the Company and the Bank are subject to examination, supervision and comprehensive regulation and will be affected by present and future legislation and by the policies established from time to time by various federal and state regulatory authorities. Any change in the laws or regulations, failure by the Company to comply with applicable laws and regulations, or a change in regulators’ supervisory policies or examination procedures, whether by the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, the FDIC, the Federal Reserve Board, other state or federal regulators, the U.S. Congress, or the New Jersey State Legislature could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows. Changes in accounting policies, practices and standards, as may be adopted by the regulatory agencies, as well as the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and other accounting standard setters, could also impact the Company’s financial results. It is not possible to predict what changes, if any, will be made to the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve Board or to existing federal and state legislation or the effect that such changes may have on the future business and earnings prospects of the Company. Compliance with the rules and regulations of these agencies may be costly and may limit growth and restrict certain activities, including payment of dividends, investments, loans and interest rate charges, interest rates paid on deposits, and locations of offices.

The capital requirements applicable to the Bank, and changes thereto, may inhibit our future growth and operating results.

For the Bank to be considered well-capitalized for prompt corrective action purposes under federal regulatory requirements regarding the capital framework for U.S. banking organizations, the Bank is required to maintain the following ratios: (1) a
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Common Equity Tier 1 (“CET1”) capital ratio of at least 6.5% of risk-weighted assets; (2) a Tier 1 capital ratio of at least 8.0% of risk-weighted assets; (3) a total capital ratio of a least 10.0% of risk-weighted assets; and (4) a leverage ratio of at least 5.0%. The Bank’s CET1 risk-based capital, Tier 1 risk-based capital, total risk-based capital and leverage capital ratios were 11.11%, 11.11%, 12.15%, and 9.40%, respectively, as of December 31, 2020. In addition, there is a requirement to maintain a capital conservation buffer, comprised of CET1capital, in an amount greater than 2.5% of risk-weighted assets over the minimum capital required by each of the minimum risk-based capital ratios in order to avoid limitations on the organization’s ability to pay dividends, repurchase shares or pay discretionary bonuses. The capital conservation buffer requirement has been fully implemented and the Company's capital conservation buffer was at a level above 2.5% at December 31, 2020.

On September 17, 2019, the federal banking agencies adopted a final rule, effective January 1, 2020, creating a CBLR framework for institutions with total consolidated assets of less than $10 billion and that meet other qualifying criteria. The CBLR framework provides for a simpler measure of capital adequacy for qualifying institutions. Qualifying institutions that elect to use the CBLR framework and that maintain a leverage ratio of greater than 9% will be considered to have satisfied the generally applicable risk-based and leverage capital requirements in the federal banking agencies’ capital rules and to have met the well-capitalized ratio requirements. The Company and the Bank did not elect to use the framework.

Changes to these capital requirements could increase the Company’s required capital levels and the cost of capital, among other things. Any permanent significant increase in the Company’s cost of capital could have significant adverse impacts on the profitability of many of our products, the types of products we could offer profitably, our overall profitability, and our overall growth opportunities, among other things. Implementation of changes to asset risk weightings for risk-based capital calculations or items included or deducted in calculating regulatory capital and/or additional capital conservation buffers could also result in management modifying the Company’s business strategy and limiting the Company’s ability to repurchase our common stock.

In addition, to the extent our future operating results erode capital or we elect to expand through loan growth or acquisition, we may be required to raise additional capital. Our ability to raise capital will depend on conditions in the capital markets, which are outside of our control, and on our financial performance. Accordingly, we cannot be assured of our ability to raise capital when needed or on favorable terms. If we cannot raise additional capital when needed, we will be subject to increased regulatory supervision and the imposition of restrictions on our growth and business. These actions could negatively impact our ability to operate or further expand our operations and may result in increases in operating expenses and reductions in revenues that could have a material effect on our consolidated financial condition and results of operations. Furthermore, if we are able to raise capital through the capital markets, our common shareholders would be diluted from any stock issuances.

Higher FDIC deposit insurance premiums and assessments could adversely affect our financial condition.

The FDIC insures deposits at FDIC-insured financial institutions, including the Bank. The FDIC charges insured financial institutions premiums to maintain the Deposit Insurance Fund at a specific level. The Bank's FDIC insurance premiums are based on the risk category assigned to the Bank. If the risk category of the Bank or the FDIC’s assessment rates change adversely, our FDIC insurance premiums could increase, which could have an adverse effect on the Bank's earnings. The FDIC may further increase or decrease the assessment rate schedule in order to manage the Deposit Insurance Fund to prescribed statutory target levels. The FDIC may terminate deposit insurance for an institution if it determines that such institution has engaged in or is engaging in unsafe or unsound banking practices, is in an unsafe or unsound condition, or has violated applicable laws, regulations or orders. In addition, insured depository institution failures, as well as deterioration in banking and economic conditions, could significantly increase the loss provisions of the FDIC, resulting in a decline in the designated reserve ratio of the Deposit Insurance Fund, currently at 2.00%, to historical lows.

Changes to and replacement of the LIBOR Benchmark Interest Rate may have an impact on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

On July 27, 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a regulator of financial services firms in the United Kingdom, announced that it intends to stop persuading or compelling banks to submit LIBOR rates after 2021. The FCA and submitting LIBOR banks have indicated they will support the LIBOR indices through 2021 to allow for an orderly transition to an alternative reference rate. Subsequently, on November 30, 2020, the ICE Benchmark Administration Limited (commonly referred to as “ICE”) announced its plan to extend the date that most U.S. dollar LIBOR values would cease being computed and announced a change from December 31, 2021 to June 30, 2023. On the same date, the Federal Reserve, the FDIC and the OCC issued a Joint Statement on LIBOR transition, which instructs banks to cease entering into new contracts that use U.S. dollar LIBOR as a reference rate by no later than December 31, 2021, and if practicable, as far in advance of that deadline as possible, notwithstanding its publication until June 30, 2023. In the United States, efforts to identify a set of alternative U.S. dollar reference interest rates include proposals by the Alternative Reference Rates Committee of the Federal Reserve Board. Other financial services regulators and industry groups are evaluating the phase-out of LIBOR and the development of alternate
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reference rate indices or reference rates. Some of our assets and liabilities are indexed to LIBOR. We are evaluating the potential impact of the possible replacement of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate, but are not able to predict whether the alternative rates the Federal Reserve Board proposes to publish will become market benchmarks in place of LIBOR, or what the impact of such a transition will have on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Reform of, or the replacement or phasing out of LIBOR and proposed regulation of LIBOR and other “benchmarks” may materially adversely affect the amount of interest paid on any LIBOR-based loans, investment securities and borrowings of the Company and the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations. On March 5, 2021, the FCA announced that overnight 1-month, 3-month, 6-month and 12-month LIBOR settings will end on June 30, 2023. Reform of, or the replacement or phasing out of, LIBOR and proposed regulation of LIBOR and other “benchmarks” may materially adversely affect the amount of interest paid on any LIBOR-based loans, investment securities and borrowings of the Company and the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be able to detect money laundering and other illegal or improper activities fully or on a timely basis, which could expose us to additional liability and could have a material adverse effect on us.

We are required to comply with anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism and other laws and regulations in the United States. These laws and regulations require us, among other things, to adopt and enforce “know-your-customer” policies and procedures and to report suspicious and large transactions to applicable regulatory authorities. These laws and regulations have become increasingly complex and detailed, require improved systems, sophisticated monitoring and compliance personnel and have become the subject of enhanced government supervision.

While we have adopted policies and procedures aimed at detecting and preventing the use of our banking network for money laundering and related activities, those policies and procedures may not completely eliminate instances in which we may be used by customers to engage in money laundering and other illegal or improper activities. To the extent we fail to fully comply with applicable laws and regulations, the FDIC and/or with other banking agencies have the authority to impose fines and other penalties on us. In addition, our business and reputation could suffer if customers use our banking network for money laundering or illegal or improper purposes. At its regularly scheduled meetings, the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors and the Board of Directors are periodically briefed and brought up to date on money laundering and related matters.

Claims and litigation could result in losses and damage to the Company’s reputation and other financial liability.

From time to time as part of the Company’s normal course of business, current and former customers, bankruptcy trustees, contractual counterparties, third parties and current and former employees make claims and take legal actions against the Company based on actions or inactions of the Company. If such claims and legal actions are not resolved in a manner favorable to the Company, they may result in financial liability and/or adversely affect the market perception of the Company and its products and services. This may also impact customer demand for the Company’s products and services. Any financial liability or reputation damage could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, which, in turn, could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Liquidity

The Bank is subject to liquidity risk.

Liquidity risk is the potential that the Bank will be unable to meet its obligations as they become due, capitalize on growth opportunities as they arise, or pay regular dividends because of an inability to liquidate assets or obtain adequate funding in a timely basis, at a reasonable cost and within acceptable risk tolerances. Liquidity is required to fund various obligations, including credit commitments to borrowers, mortgage and other loan originations, withdrawals by depositors, repayment of borrowings, dividends to shareholders, operating expenses and capital expenditures. Liquidity is derived primarily from retail deposit growth and retention; principal and interest payments on loans; principal and interest payments on investment securities; sale, maturity and prepayment of investment securities; net cash provided from operations and access to other funding sources.

Our access to funding sources in amounts adequate to finance our activities could be impaired by factors that affect us specifically or the financial services industry in general. Factors that could detrimentally impact our access to liquidity sources include a decrease in the level of our business activity due to a market downturn or adverse regulatory action against us. Our ability to borrow could also be impaired by factors that are not specific to us, such as a severe disruption of the financial markets or negative views and expectations about the prospects for the financial services industry as a whole. If we become unable to obtain funds when needed, it could have a material adverse effect on our business and in turn, our consolidated financial condition and results of operations.
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The Company is subject to liquidity risk.

Our recurring cash requirements, at the holding company level, primarily consist of interest expense on junior subordinated debentures issued to a capital trust. Holding company cash needs are routinely satisfied by dividends collected from the Bank. While we expect that the holding company will continue to receive dividends from the Bank sufficient to satisfy holding company cash needs, in the event that the Bank has insufficient resources or is subject to legal or regulatory restrictions on the payment of dividends, the Bank may be unable to provide dividends or a sufficient level of dividends to the holding company; in that event, the holding company may have insufficient funds to satisfy its obligations as they become due.

Risks Related to Financial and Accounting Matters

The Company's accounting policies require the use of estimates and assumptions that affect the value of the Company's assets and liabilities and results of operations, and if actual events differ from the Company's estimates and assumptions, or if new accounting standards are adopted, the Company's results of operations and financial condition could be materially adversely affected.

The Company’s accounting policies are fundamental to understanding its financial results and condition. Some of these policies require the use of estimates and assumptions that may affect the value of the Company’s assets or liabilities and financial results. The Company identified its accounting policies regarding the allowance for loan losses, security impairment, goodwill and other intangible assets, and income taxes to be critical because they require management to make difficult, subjective and complex judgments about matters that are inherently uncertain. Under each of these policies, it is possible that materially different amounts would be reported under different conditions, using different assumptions, or as new information becomes available.

From time to time the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) and the SEC change the financial accounting and reporting standards that govern the form and content of the Company’s external financial statements. FASB recently adopted new accounting standards related to fair value accounting, measurement of credit losses on financial instruments and accounting for leases that could materially change the Company’s financial statements in the future. In addition, accounting standard setters and those who interpret the accounting standards (such as the FASB, SEC, banking regulators and the Company’s independent auditors) may change or even reverse their previous interpretations or positions on how these standards should be applied. Changes in financial accounting and reporting standards and changes in current interpretations may be beyond the Company’s control, can be hard to predict and could materially impact how the Company reports its financial results and condition. In certain cases, the Company could be required to apply a new or revised standard retroactively or apply an existing standard differently (also retroactively), which may result in the Company restating prior period financial statements in material amounts.

For example, in 2016, the FASB released a new standard for determining the amount of the allowance for credit losses. The new standard will be effective for the Company for reporting periods beginning January 1, 2023. The new credit loss model will be a significant change from the standard in place today, as it requires the allowance for credit losses to be calculated based on current expected credit losses (commonly referred to as the “CECL model”) rather than losses inherent in the portfolio as of a point in time. Because the new CECL model focuses on the life of the loan concept, more data will be required to support allowance estimates, including that loan portfolios will need to be broken down by origination year. As a result, audit and disclosure requirements will increase. The extent of the increase is under evaluation, but will depend upon the nature and characteristics of the Company’s loan portfolio at the adoption date, and the macroeconomic conditions and forecasts at that date. As a result, the potential financial impact is currently unknown.

Failure to maintain effective systems of internal controls over financial reporting could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition disclosures.

We must have effective internal controls over financial reporting in order to provide reliable financial reports, to effectively prevent fraud, and to operate successfully as a public company. If we were unable to provide reliable financial reports or prevent fraud, our reputation and operating results would be harmed. As part of our ongoing monitoring of our internal controls over financial reporting, we may discover material weaknesses or significant deficiencies requiring remediation. A "material weakness" is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal controls over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of a company's annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

We continually work to improve our internal controls; however, we cannot be certain that these measures will ensure appropriate and adequate controls over our future financial processes and reporting. Any failure to maintain effective controls
23


or to timely implement any necessary improvement of our internal controls could, among other things, result in losses from fraud or error, harm our reputation, or cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information, each of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial condition and the market value of our common stock.

The fair value of our investment securities can fluctuate due to market conditions out of our control.

As of December 31, 2020, approximately 79% of our investment securities portfolio was comprised of U.S. government agency and sponsored enterprises obligations, U.S. government agency and sponsored enterprises' mortgage backed securities and municipal securities. As of December 31, 2020, the fair value of our investment portfolio was approximately $220.8 million. Factors beyond our control can significantly influence the fair value of securities in our portfolio and can cause potential adverse changes to the fair value of these securities. These factors include, but are not limited to, ratings agency downgrades of the securities, defaults by the issuer or with respect to the underlying securities, changes in market interest rates and instability in the credit markets. Any of these mentioned factors, among others, could cause other-than-temporary impairments in future periods and result in a realized loss, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. The process for determining whether impairment is other-than-temporary usually requires complex, subjective judgements about the future financial performance of the issuer and any collateral underlying the security in order to assess the probability of receiving all contractual principal and interest payments on the security.

Because of changing economic and market conditions affecting issuers and the performance of underlying collateral, we may recognize realized and/or unrealized losses in future periods, which could have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

The Bank’s fee-based services may lose appeal with customers during an economic downturn, resulting in increased funding costs and a reduction of the Company’s net interest income and net income.

Economic downturns could affect the volume of income earned from and demand for the Bank’s fee-based services. Checking, savings, and money market deposit account balances and other forms of customer deposits can decrease when customers perceive alternative investments, such as the stock market, as providing a better risk/return tradeoff. If customers move money out of bank deposits and into other investments, the Company could lose a relatively low-cost source of funds, increasing its funding costs and reducing the Company’s net interest income and net income.

Risks Related to Environmental and Social Matters and Human Capital Management

Our financial and operating performance could be adversely impacted by disruptions to business conducted, or declines in property values, in northern, central and coastal New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area, caused by severe weather, changes in climate and other natural disasters, acts of terrorism, public health crises and other external events.

A significant portion of our primary market includes counties in New Jersey with extensive coastal regions. These areas may be vulnerable to flooding, wind or other damage resulting from severe weather, such as hurricanes and other natural disasters, or changes in climate. As a result of a major natural disaster or changes in climate, our borrowers may suffer uninsured property damage, experience interruption of their businesses or lose their jobs, which may negatively impact the ability of these borrowers to make deposits with us or repay their loans or impair the values of collateral securing our loans, any of which could result in losses and increased provisions for credit losses. Our operations may also be disrupted by the occurrence of natural disasters through interference with communications, including the interruption or loss of our computer systems, which could interfere with our ability to gather deposits and originate loans, as well as through the destruction of facilities and our operational, financial and management information systems.

In addition, our primary market includes areas that are central targets of potential acts of terrorism and the concentration of our retail and commercial banking activities makes our business susceptible to disruptions resulting from public health crises and other external events, including trade disruptions caused by increased tariffs. These and other catastrophic events could affect the stability of our deposit base and impair the ability of borrowers to repay outstanding loans as a result of quarantines, business closures, shortages in labor or raw materials and overall economic instability, which could result in the loss of revenue. Although the Company has established disaster recovery policies and procedures, the occurrence of any such event in the future could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We depend on our executive officers and key personnel to implement our strategy and to maintain the trust and confidence of customers and other market participants and our reputation, which could be harmed by the loss of their services.

24


Our success depends in large part on the skills and performance of our executive management team and our ability to motivate and retain these and other key personnel. Accordingly, the loss of service of one or more of our executive officers or key personnel could reduce our ability to successfully implement our business strategy and materially and adversely affect us. Leadership changes will occur from time to time, and if significant resignations occur, we may not be able to recruit additional qualified personnel. We believe our executive management team possesses valuable knowledge about the banking industry and that their knowledge and relationships would be very difficult to replicate. Although each of our Chief Executive Officer and President, our Executive Vice President, Chief Lending Officer and Chief Credit Officer and our Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer has entered into an employment agreement with us, it is possible that they may not complete the terms of their respective employment agreements or may choose not to exercise options to renew such terms.

As a community bank, our customers also rely on us to deliver personalized financial services. Our success depends on the experience of our branch managers and lending officers and on their relationships with the customers and communities they serve. The loss of the service of these individuals could undermine the confidence of our customers in our ability to provide such personalized services. We need to continue to attract and retain these individuals and to recruit other qualified individuals to ensure continued growth. In addition, competitors may recruit these individuals in light of the value of the individuals’ relationships with their customers and communities and we may not be able to retain such relationships absent the individuals. If we are unable to attract and retain our branch managers and lending officers, and recruit individuals with appropriate skills and knowledge to support our business, our business strategy, business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

Risks Related to Investment in Our Securities

Our directors and executive officers own a meaningful percentage of our stock, which may enable them to influence matters subject to shareholder approval.

As of December 31, 2020, our directors and executive officers, together with their affiliates and related persons, beneficially owned, in the aggregate, approximately 12.9% of our outstanding shares of common stock. These shareholders, if acting together, may have the ability to determine the outcome of matters submitted to our shareholders for approval, including the election and removal of directors and any merger, consolidation, or sale of all or substantially all of our assets. In addition, these persons, acting together, may have the ability to control the management and affairs of our Company. Accordingly, this concentration of ownership may harm the market price of our common stock by:

delaying, deferring, or preventing a change in control;
entrenching our management and/or the board of directors;
impeding a merger, consolidation, takeover, or other business combination involving us; or
discouraging a potential acquirer from making a tender offer or otherwise attempting to obtain control of us.

Future offerings of debt or other securities may adversely affect the market price of our stock.

In the future, the Company may attempt to increase its capital resources or, if the Company’s or the Bank’s capital ratios fall below the required minimums, the Company or the Bank could be forced to raise additional capital by making additional offerings of debt or preferred equity securities, including medium-term notes, trust preferred securities, senior or subordinated notes and preferred stock. Upon liquidation, holders of our debt securities and shares of preferred stock and lenders with respect to other borrowings will receive distributions of our available assets prior to the holders of our common stock.

The Company may issue additional shares of common stock which may dilute the ownership and voting power of our shareholders and the book value of our common stock.

The Company is currently authorized to issue up to 30,000,000 shares of common stock, of which 10,241,100 shares were outstanding on February 26, 2021. We may decide to issue additional shares of common stock for any corporate purposes. Our Board of Directors has the authority, without action or vote of our shareholders, to issue all or part of the authorized but unissued shares of common stock in public offerings or up to 20% of our outstanding common stock in non-public offerings. Any issuance of shares of our common stock will dilute the percentage ownership interest of our common shareholders and may reduce the market price of our common stock or dilute the book value of our common stock, or both. Holders of our common stock are not entitled to preemptive rights or other protections against dilution.

Item 1B.  Unresolved Staff Comments.
 
Not applicable. 
25


Item 2.  Properties.
     
We currently operate 25 bank branch offices in New Jersey, including the Bank’s main office in Cranbury, New Jersey. In addition, there is an Operations Center which is leased in Cranbury, New Jersey. The following table provides certain information with respect to our bank branch offices as of February 26, 2021:
LocationLeased or
Owned
Original Year Leased or AcquiredYear of Lease
Expiration
Main Office   
2650 Route 130
Cranbury, New Jersey
Leased19892027
Village Office   
74 North Main Street
Cranbury, New Jersey
Owned2005
Plainsboro Office   
Plainsboro Village Center
11 Shalks Crossing Road
Plainsboro, New Jersey
Leased1998
2021(1)
Hamilton Square Office   
3659 Nottingham Way
Hamilton, New Jersey
Leased19992024
Princeton Office   
The Windrows at Princeton Forrestal
2000 Windrow Drive
Princeton, New Jersey
Leased20012021
Perth Amboy Office   
145 Fayette Street
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Leased20032026
Jamesburg Office   
1 Harrison Street
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Owned2002
Fort Lee Office   
180 Main Street
Fort Lee, New Jersey
Leased20062024
Hightstown Office   
140 Mercer Street
Hightstown, New Jersey
Leased20072024
Lawrenceville Property   
150 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road
Lawrenceville, New Jersey
Owned2009
South River Operations Center
1246 South River Road, Bldg. 2
Cranbury, New Jersey
Leased20102025
Rocky Hill Office   
995 Route 518
Skillman, New Jersey
Owned2011
Hopewell Office   
86 East Broad Street
Hopewell, New Jersey
Owned2011
Hillsborough Office   
32 New Amwell Road
Hillsborough, New Jersey
Owned2011
Rumson Office   
20 Bingham Avenue
Rumson, New Jersey
Leased20142026
26


LocationLeased or
Owned
Original Year Leased or AcquiredYear of Lease
Expiration
Fair Haven Office   
636 River Road
Fair Haven, New Jersey
Leased20142022
Asbury Park Office   
511 Cookman Avenue
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Owned2014
Shrewsbury Office   
500 Broad Street
Shrewsbury, New Jersey
Leased20142031
Little Silver Office   
517 Prospect Avenue
Little Silver, New Jersey
Leased20152024
Freehold Office
3441 US Highway 9
Freehold, New Jersey
Leased20182022
Neptune City Office
118 3rd Avenue
Neptune City, New Jersey
Leased20182022
Long Branch
444 Ocean Boulevard North
Long Branch, New Jersey
Leased20192024
Route 37
1216 Route 37 East
Toms River, New Jersey
Leased20192024
Hooper Avenue
1012 Hooper Avenue
Toms River, New Jersey
Owned2019
Jackson
1130 East Veterans Highway
Jackson, New Jersey
Leased20192026
Manahawkin
280 Route 72 East
Manahawkin, New Jersey
Leased20192023

Management believes the foregoing facilities are suitable for the Company’s and the Bank’s present and projected operations.

(1) The current lease period expires on April 30, 2021 and the lease involves two lease extensions for a period of five years each. The Company is expected to exercise the lease extension option.

Item 3.  Legal Proceedings.
 
The Company may, in the ordinary course of business, become a party to litigation involving collection matters, contract claims and other legal proceedings relating to the conduct of its business. Management is not aware of any material pending legal proceedings against the Company which, if determined adversely, would have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition or results of operations.
 
Item 4.  Mine Safety Disclosures.
 
Not applicable.


27


PART II

Item 5.  Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Shareholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities.
 
The common stock of the Company trades on the Nasdaq Global Market under the trading symbol, “FCCY.”  On February 26, 2021, there were approximately 346 shareholders of record.


Performance

The following graph compares the cumulative total return on a hypothetical $100 investment made on December 31, 2015 in (a) the Company's common stock; (b) the SNL US Bank & Thrift Index; (c) the SNL US NASDAQ Banks Index; and (d) the SNL US Bank $1B-$5B Index. The graph is calculated assuming that all dividends are reinvested during the relevant periods. The graph shows how a $100 investment would increase or decrease in value over time, based on dividends (stock or cash) and increases or decreases in the market price of the stock. The performance graph shall not be deemed “filed” for purposes of Section 18 of the Exchange Act or incorporated by reference into any filings of the Company under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Exchange Act, except as expressly set forth by specific reference in such filing.

fccy-20201231_g1.jpg


      Period Ending
Index12/31/201512/31/201612/31/201712/31/201812/31/201912/31/2020
1st Constitution Bancorp100.00 153.55 151.62 167.17 188.68 138.57 
SNL US Bank & Thrift100.00 126.25 148.45 123.32 166.67 144.61 
SNL US NASDAQ Banks100.00 138.65 145.97 123.04 154.47 132.56 
SNL US Bank $1B-$5B100.00 143.87 153.37 134.37 163.35 138.81 

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On December 31, 2020, the last reported sale price of the Company's common stock was $15.87.
 
The timing and the amount of the payment of future cash dividends, if any, on the Company's common shares will be at the discretion of the Company's Board of Directors and will be determined after consideration of various factors, including the level of earnings, cash requirements, regulatory capital and financial condition.

Dividend Policy
The Company began declaring and paying cash dividends on its common stock in September 2016 and has declared and paid a cash dividend each quarter since then. Although the Company intends to continue to pay comparable cash dividends, the timing and the amount of the payment of future cash dividends, if any, on the Company's common stock will be at the discretion of the Company's Board of Directors and will be determined after consideration of various factors, including the level of earnings, cash requirements, regulatory capital and financial condition.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

On January 21, 2016, the Board of Directors of the Company authorized a new common stock repurchase program. Under the new common stock repurchase program, the Company may repurchase in open market or privately negotiated transactions up to five (5%) percent of its common stock outstanding on the date of approval of the stock repurchase program, which limitations will be adjusted for any future stock dividends. The Company's common stock repurchase program covers a maximum of 396,141 shares of common stock of the Company, representing 5% of the outstanding common stock of the Company on January 21, 2016, as adjusted for subsequent common stock dividends. There were no repurchases under the plan during 2020. For the year ended December 31, 2020, the Company withheld 14,411 shares of common stock in connection with the vesting of restricted stock awards to satisfy applicable tax withholding obligations.
PeriodTotal
Number of
 Shares
Purchased
Average
Price Paid
Per Share
Total Number
of Shares
Purchased As Part of
Publicly Announced
Program
Maximum
Number of
Shares That
May Yet be
Purchased Under the Program
BeginningEnding    
October 1, 2020October 31, 2020— $— — 394,141 
November 1, 2020November 30, 2020— — — 394,141 
December 1, 2020December 31, 2020— — — 394,141 
Total— $— — 394,141 

Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities


None.


29


Item 6.  Selected Financial Data

As of and for the years ended December 31,
(In thousands, except per share data)20202019201820172016
Summary earnings:
Interest income$69,146 $60,090 $51,473 $41,663 $39,135 
Interest expense10,643 12,754 8,041 5,498 5,158 
Net interest income58,503 47,336 43,432 36,165 33,977 
Provision (credit) for loan losses6,698 1,350 900 600 (300)
Net interest income after provision (credit) for loan losses51,805 45,986 42,532 35,565 34,277 
Non-interest income14,643 8,237 7,918 8,240 6,922 
Non-interest expense41,755 35,549 34,085 31,006 27,291 
Income before income tax expense24,693 18,674 16,365 12,799 13,908 
Income tax expense6,607 5,040 4,317 5,871 4,623 
Net income$18,086 $13,634 12,048 $6,928 $9,285 
Per share data:
Earnings per share - basic$1.77 $1.54 $1.45 $0.86 $1.17 
Earnings per share - diluted1.76 1.53 1.4 0.83 1.14 
Cash dividends declared0.36 0.30 0.26 0.16 0.10 
Book value end-of-period (1)
18.32 16.74 14.77 13.81 13.11 
Basic weighted average shares outstanding10,220,319 8,875,237 8,320,718 8,049,981 7,962,121 
Common stock equivalents (dilutive)40,646 58,234 272,791 262,803 215,318 
Fully diluted weighted average shares outstanding
10,260,965 8,933,471 8,593,509 8,312,784 8,177,439 
Balance sheet data (at period end):
Total assets$1,806,909 $1,586,262 $1,177,833 $1,079,274 $1,038,213 
Securities, available for sale125,197 155,782 132,222 105,458 103,794 
Securities, held to maturity92,552 76,620 79,572 110,267 126,810 
Total loans1,433,706 1,216,028 883,164 789,906 724,808 
Allowance for loan losses(15,641)(9,271)(8,402)(8,013)(7,494)
Total deposits1,562,839 1,277,362 950,672 922,006 834,516 
Shareholders' equity187,657 170,578 127,085 111,653 104,801 
Common cash dividends3,676 2,593 2,120 1,289 800 
Selected performance ratios:
Return on average total assets1.05 %1.06 %1.06 %0.67 %0.93 %
Return on average shareholders' equity10.20 %9.87 %10.11 %6.36 %9.21 %
Dividend payout ratio (2)
20.33 %19.02 %17.60 %18.61 %0.0862
Net interest margin3.71 %4.00 %4.09 %3.81 %3.70 %
Non-interest income to average assets0.85 %0.64 %0.70 %0.80 %0.69 %
Non-interest expenses to average assets2.43 %2.77 %3.00 %3.01 %2.72 %
Non-performing loans to total loans1.20 %0.37 %0.75 %0.90 %0.72 %
Non-performing assets to total assets0.96 %0.32 %0.77 %0.66 %0.52 %
Allowance for loan losses to non-performing loans90.77 %206.16 %127.69 %112.64 %144.17 %
Allowance for loan losses to total loans1.09 %0.76 %0.95 %1.01 %1.03 %
Net recoveries (charge-offs) to average loans(0.02)%(0.05)%(0.06)%(0.01)%0.03 %
30


As of and for the years ended December 31,
(In thousands, except per share data)20202019201820172016
Liquidity and capital ratios:
Average loans to average deposits92.30 %90.64 %87.28 %81.8 %84.58 %
Total shareholders' equity to total assets10.39 %10.75 %10.79 %10.35 %10.09 %
Total capital to risk-weighted assets12.16 %11.69 %13.17 %12.84 %13.24 %
Tier 1 capital to risk-weighted assets11.12 %11.01 %12.39 %12.02 %12.41 %
Common equity tier 1 capital ratio to risk-weighted assets9.92 %9.70 %10.72 %10.19 %10.4 %
Tier 1 leverage ratio9.41 %10.56 %11.73 %11.23 %10.93 %
(1) Book value at end-of-period calculated by dividing shareholders' equity by number of outstanding common shares at end of period.
(2) Dividend payout ratio calculated by dividing dividends declared during the year by net income.


31


Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
 
Overview

The following discussion and analysis is intended to provide information about the financial condition and results of operations of the Company and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the related notes and supplemental financial information appearing elsewhere in this report.

The Company, which was incorporated in 1999, is the parent holding company for 1ST Constitution Bank, a commercial bank formed in 1989 that provides a wide range of financial services to consumers, businesses and government entities. The Bank's branch network primarily serves central and coastal New Jersey and offers consumer and business banking products delivered through a network of well-trained staff dedicated to a positive client experience and enhancing shareholder value. Much of the Company's lending activity is in northern, central and coastal New Jersey and the New York metropolitan area. For purposes of the discussion below, 1ST Constitution Capital Trust II (Trust II), a subsidiary of the Company, is not included in the Company's consolidated financial statements as it is a variable interest entity and the Company is not the primary beneficiary.

On November 8, 2019, the Company completed the merger of Shore with and into the Bank. The Shore Merger contributed approximately $284.2 million in assets, approximately $209.6 million in loans, and approximately $249.8 million in deposits.

On April 11, 2018, the Company completed the merger of NJCB with and into the Bank. The NJCB Merger contributed approximately $95 million in assets, approximately $75 million in loans, and approximately $87 million in deposits.

COVID-19 Impact and Response

The sudden emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic in the first quarter of 2020 created widespread uncertainty, social and economic disruption, highly volatile financial markets and unprecedented increases in unemployment levels in a short period of time. Mandated business and school closures, restrictions on travel and social distancing have resulted in almost all businesses and employees being adversely impacted, including those located in the Bank’s primary market areas of northern and central New Jersey, communities along the New Jersey shore, and the New York City metropolitan area. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic disruption and uncertainty, it is not possible to determine the overall impact of the pandemic on the Company’s business. To the extent that customers are not able to fulfill their contractual obligations, the Company’s business operations, asset valuations, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations could be materially adversely impacted. Material adverse impacts may include all or a combination of valuation impairments on our intangible assets, investments, loans, deferred tax assets, or other real estate owned ("OREO").

The ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the businesses and the people in the communities that the Bank serves and on the Company’s operations and financial performance will depend on future developments related to the duration, extent and severity of the pandemic; the length of time that restrictions on travel and gatherings, capacity and other operational limitations or closures imposed on or by businesses and schools, and social distancing measures remain in place; the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines and the timing and the widespread distribution of such vaccines; and the enactment of further legislation or the adoption of policies designed to deliver monetary aid and other relief to borrowers, including but not limited to federal stimulus, forbearance or Federal Reserve monetary policy. In addition, the Company’s operations rely on third-party vendors to process, record and monitor transactions. If any of these vendors are unable to provide these services, our ability to serve customers could be disrupted. The pandemic could further negatively impact customers’ ability to conduct banking and other financial transactions. The Company’s operations could be adversely impacted if key personnel or a significant number of employees were unable to work due to illness or restrictions.

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) was signed into law. Among other things, the CARES ACT provides relief to borrowers, including the option to defer loan payments while not affecting their credit and access to additional credit through the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) Pay Check Protection Program (“PPP”).

The CARES Act includes a provision for the Company to opt out of applying the “troubled-debt restructuring” accounting guidance in ASC 310-40 for certain loan modifications. Loan modifications made between March 1, 2020 and the earlier of (i) December 30, 2020 or (ii) 60 days after the President declares a termination of the COVID-19 national emergency are eligible for this relief if the related loans were not more than 30 days past due as of December 31, 2019. The Bank adopted this provision as of March 31, 2020.
32


The Economic Aid to Hard Hit Small Business, Not for Profits and Venues Act (“Economic Aid Act”) was enacted in December 2020 in further response to the coronavirus pandemic. Among other things, the Economic Aid Act expanded the scope of the PPP and extended the relief from ASC 310-40 to loan modifications made between January 1, 2021 and the earlier of (i) December 30, 2021 or (ii) 60 days after the President declares a termination of the COVID-19 national emergency that were not more than 30 days past due as of December 31, 2019. The Bank adopted this provision as of December 31, 2020.

Since the first quarter of 2020, the Company took several actions in response to the sudden emergence of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The health, safety and well-being of our employees and customers continued to be the primary concern and protective measures described below were implemented. In addition, the Company worked with customers impacted by the economic disruption.

To protect our employees and customers we:
Initially adjusted branch hours and temporarily closed our branch lobbies to customers, except on an appointment only basis, and permitted staff to work remotely where feasible. However, in mid-June we re-opened the interior access to all of our branch offices to customers.
Continued to service our customers through drive-up facilities, ATMs and our robust technology capabilities that allow customers to execute transactions and apply for residential mortgage loans through our website www.momentummortgage.com utilizing their mobile devices and computers.
Provided our employees with personal protective equipment, including masks, gloves and hand sanitizer.
Installed social distancing markers and protective shields and partitions in branch offices, and required customers entering our locations to wear face coverings.
Beginning in the first quarter of 2021, offered paid time off to employees to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations.

To support our loan and deposit customers and the communities we serve, we have taken the following actions:
We continue to provide access to additional credit and forbearance on loan interest and or principal payments for up to 90 days where management has determined that it is warranted. During 2020, $149.3 million of loans ($140.9 million of commercial loans and $8.4 million of consumer loans) were modified to provide deferral of interest and or principal by borrowers for up to 90 days. As of December 31, 2020, all loans that had previously received deferrals were no longer deferred, except that one commercial real estate loan with a balance of $6.0 million received an additional deferral of principal payments up to 90 days and two commercial real estate loans totaling $4.6 million were placed on nonaccrual status in the third quarter of 2020.
As a long-standing SBA preferred lender, we are actively participating in the SBA’s PPP lending program established under the CARES Act. As of December 31, 2020, we funded 467 SBA PPP loans totaling $75.6 million, $15.8 million of which PPP loans were forgiven by the SBA.
Among other things, the Economic Aid Act provides relief to borrowers to access additional credit through the SBA's PPP program. We are actively participating in the program and have accepted 255 applications for PPP loans totaling $33.4 million since December 31, 2020, 238 which applications, representing $30.5 million of PPP loans have been approved by the SBA. Of the total approved applications, we have funded $29.8 million of PPP loans as of March 12, 2021.
We are participating in the Federal Reserve's PPP loan funding program and may pledge the PPP loans to collateralize a like amount of borrowings from the Federal Reserve at a favorable interest rate of 0.35% up to a two-year term.

The Company’s results of operations and net income will continue to be impacted for the foreseeable future due to the economic disruption related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the year ended December 31, 2020, management significantly increased the provision for loan losses in response to the higher estimated incurred losses in the loan portfolio due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Management may further adjust the provision and allowance for loan losses in response to changes in economic conditions and the performance of the loan portfolio in future periods. For additional discussion, see below under “Provision for Loan Losses.”
Due to the asset sensitive nature of the Company’s balance sheet, the Federal Reserve’s reduction in the targeted fed funds rate to zero to 0.25% and the concomitant decline in the prime rate to 3.25% in March 2020 caused a reduction in the average yield of loans tied to the prime rate and the overall lower market interest rate environment negatively impacted the net interest margin. The net interest margin was also impacted by the funding of the SBA PPP loans with a 1% interest yield, which will be increased by the recognition of the loan fees earned on these loans. The timing and impact to the net interest margin will be contingent on how quickly and the extent to which the SBA PPP loans become grants that are repaid by the SBA over the next two years. The net interest margin and net interest income may decline in future periods if the Company cannot reduce the cost of interest-bearing liabilities at the same time and to the same extent as the decline in the average yield of assets.
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Residential real estate sales, and therefore the origination and sale of residential mortgages may decline as a result of the restrictions implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19, such as business closures and social distancing measures. This decline in turn, would result in lower gain on sales of loans and a decrease in non-interest income.
A significant increase in non-performing loans could result in increased non-interest expense due to higher expenses for loan collection and recovery costs.

During the year ended December 31, 2020, management significantly increased the provision for loan losses in response to the higher estimated incurred losses in the loan portfolio due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Management may further adjust the provision and allowance for loan losses in response to changes in economic conditions and the performance of the loan portfolio in future periods. For additional discussion, see below under “Provision for Loan Losses.”
 
Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates
 
Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations is based upon the Company’s consolidated financial statements, which have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("U.S. GAAP"). The preparation of these financial statements requires the Company to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. The Company considers its determination of the allowance for loan losses, the valuation of foreclosed real estate, the valuation of its investment portfolio, the valuation of deferred tax assets and goodwill impairment to be critical accounting policies. Note 1 to the Company’s Consolidated Financial Statements for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 contains a summary of the Company’s critical accounting policies.

Allowance for Loan Losses

Management believes that the Company’s policies with respect to the methodologies for the determination of the allowance for loan losses and for determining other-than-temporary security impairment involve a higher degree of complexity and requires management to make difficult and subjective judgments, which often require assumptions or estimates about highly uncertain matters. Changes in these judgments, assumptions or estimates could materially impact results of operations. These critical policies and their application are periodically reviewed with the Audit Committee and the Board of Directors.  

The provision for loan losses is based upon management’s evaluation of the adequacy of the allowance, including an assessment of known and inherent risks in the portfolio, after giving consideration to the size and composition of the loan portfolio, actual loan loss experience, level of delinquencies, detailed analysis of individual loans for which full collectability may not be assured, the existence and estimated net realizable value of any underlying collateral and guarantees securing the loans and current economic and market conditions.  Although management uses the best information available, the level of the allowance for loan losses remains an estimate, which is subject to significant judgment and short-term change. Various regulatory agencies, as an integral part of their examination process, periodically review the Company’s allowance for loan losses. Such agencies may require the Company to make additional provisions for loan losses based upon information available to them at the time of their examination. Furthermore, the majority of the Company’s loans are secured by real estate in the State of New Jersey. Accordingly, the collectability of a substantial portion of the carrying value of the Company’s loan portfolio is susceptible to changes in local market conditions and may be adversely affected in the event that real estate values decline or the Company’s primary market area of northern, central and coastal New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area experiences adverse economic conditions. Future adjustments to the allowance for loan losses may be necessary due to economic, operating, regulatory and other conditions beyond the Company’s control, including the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of national and local government responsive measures and monetary and fiscal response.

Valuation of Other Real Estate Owned (“OREO”)

Real estate acquired through foreclosure, or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, is recorded at fair value less estimated selling costs at the date of acquisition or transfer and, subsequently, fair value less estimated selling costs. Adjustments to the carrying value at the date of acquisition or transfer are charged to the allowance for loan losses. The carrying value of the individual properties is subsequently adjusted to estimated fair value less estimated selling costs, at which time a provision for losses on such real estate is charged to operations if it is lower. Appraisals are critical in determining the fair value of the other real estate owned ("OREO") amount. Assumptions for appraisals are instrumental in determining the value of properties. Overly optimistic assumptions or negative changes to assumptions could significantly affect the valuation of a property. The assumptions supporting such appraisals are carefully reviewed by management to determine that the resulting values reasonably reflect amounts realizable.

 
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Valuation of the Investment Portfolio

Debt securities are classified as held to maturity and carried at amortized cost when management has the positive intent and ability to hold them to maturity. Debt securities are classified as available for sale when they might be sold before maturity due to changes in interest rates, prepayment risk, liquidity or other factors. Securities available for sale are carried at fair value, with unrealized holding gains and losses reported in other comprehensive income, net of tax.

Management utilizes various inputs to determine the fair value of its investment portfolio. To the extent they exist, unadjusted quoted market prices in active markets for identical investments (level 1) or quoted prices on similar assets (level 2) are utilized to determine the fair value of each investment in the portfolio. In the absence of quoted prices, valuation techniques would be used to determine fair value of any investments that require inputs that are both significant to the fair value measurement and unobservable (level 3). Valuation techniques are based on various assumptions, including, but not limited to, cash flows, discount rates, rate of return, adjustments for nonperformance and liquidity and liquidation values. A significant degree of judgment is involved in valuing investments using level 3 inputs. The use of different assumptions could have a positive or negative effect on the Company's consolidated financial condition or results of operations.

Securities are evaluated on at least a quarterly basis to determine whether a decline in fair value is other-than-temporary. To determine whether a decline in value is other-than-temporary, management considers the reasons underlying the decline, including, but not limited to, the length of time an investment’s book value is greater than fair value, the extent and duration of the decline and the near-term prospects of the issuer as well as any credit deterioration of the investment. If the decline in value of an investment is deemed to be other-than-temporary, the entire difference between amortized cost and fair value is recognized as impairment through earnings.

Valuation of Deferred Tax Assets

The Company records income taxes using the asset and liability method. Accordingly, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been recognized in the financial statements or tax returns; are attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of existing assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases; and are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply in the years when those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. The effect on deferred tax assets and liabilities of a change in tax rates is recognized in income tax expense in the period of enactment.

Deferred tax assets are recorded on the consolidated balance sheet at net realizable value. The Company periodically performs an assessment to evaluate the amount of deferred tax assets that it is more likely than not to realize. Realization of deferred tax assets is dependent upon the amount of taxable income expected in future periods as tax benefits require taxable income to be realized. If a valuation allowance is required, the deferred tax asset on the consolidated balance sheet is reduced via a corresponding income tax expense in the consolidated statement of income.

Goodwill Impairment

The Company evaluates its goodwill for impairment on an annual basis, or more often if there is a triggering event which indicates that there is an impairment. In completing its impairment testing the Company identified a single reporting unit and the $34.7 million of goodwill at December 31, 2020 was assigned to the single reporting unit.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a broad decline in the market values of all banking company stocks, the market price of the Company's common stock and the resulting aggregate market capitalization of the Company declined. During each of the quarterly periods ended March 31, 2020 and June 30, 2020, the Company concluded that a triggering event occurred due to the decline in the Company's stock price and market capitalization as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In each quarterly period, management concluded that it was more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit exceeded the carrying value and that goodwill was not impaired. At September 30, 2020, the Company performed a quantitative impairment test of goodwill utilizing a discounted cash flow valuation methodology based upon an updated five year projection of the Company’s financial performance. A discount rate was estimated utilizing the build up method with a risk free rate, an equity risk premium and a size premium. This discount rate was applied to the projected cash flows over the five year period, which included a terminal value in year five based on a multiple of the projected cash flow in year five. The year five terminal multiple was based upon the observed average market price to earnings multiple for the trailing last twelve months of earnings for companies included in the SNL US Bank Index at September 30, 2020. This multiple does not include a control premium. This estimated fair value exceeded the carrying value of shareholders’ equity at September 30, 2020 by 10.3%.
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On the basis of the evaluation of goodwill, management concluded that it was more likely than not that the fair value of the reporting unit exceeded the carrying value of the reporting unit. Accordingly, goodwill was not impaired and no impairment charges were recorded as a result of Company's interim and annual testing of goodwill for impairment. The Company estimates the fair value of its reporting unit using the income approach.

If the Company’s common stock price is below the Company’s book value per common share in future periods, the Company will continue to evaluate goodwill for impairment on a quarterly basis. Changes in economic conditions, actual loan losses at levels higher than projected, changes in market interest rates and changes in discount rates and valuation multiples may affect the Company’s financial projections and valuation. The Company may determine that goodwill becomes impaired in a future period and a portion or all of the goodwill may be written off. Any impairment loss related to goodwill and other intangible assets is reflected as other non-interest expense in the statement of income in the period in which the impairment was determined. No assurance can be given that future impairment tests will not result in a charge to earnings. See Note 9 – "Goodwill and Intangible Assets" - for additional information.

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Earnings Summary

2020 compared to 2019

The Company reported net income of $18.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to net income of $13.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019. Diluted earnings per share were $1.76 for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to diluted earnings per share of $1.53 for the year ended December 31, 2019. For the year ended December 31, 2020, net income increased $4.5 million, or 32.7%, and net income per diluted share increased $0.23, or 15.0%.

Adjusted net income, which excludes the after-tax effect of merger-related expenses, for the year ended December 31, 2020 was $18.1 million, or $1.77 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $15.0 million, or $1.68 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2019. Adjusted net income for 2020 increased $3.2 million or 21.1% compared to adjusted net income for 2019. The increase was due primarily to an increase of $11.2 million in net interest income and an increase of $6.4 million in non-interest income, which was partially offset by an increase of $5.3 million in the provision for loan losses and an increase of $7.9 million in non-interest expense, excluding merger-related expenses.

Return on average total assets (“ROAA”) and return on average shareholders' equity (“ROAE”) were 1.05% and 10.20%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 1.06% and 9.87%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2019. Adjusted ROAA and adjusted ROAE, each of which excludes the expenses related to the Shore Merger in 2019, were 1.06% and 10.23%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2020 compared to 1.17% and 10.84%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2019.


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Adjusted net income, adjusted net income per diluted share, adjusted ROAA and adjusted ROAE are non-GAAP financial measures. Each of these non-GAAP financial measures is the same as the corresponding GAAP measure, except that it excludes the after-tax effect of merger-related expenses from the Shore Merger in 2020 and 2019 and the NJCB Merger in 2018. These non-GAAP financial measures should be considered in addition to, but not as a substitute for, the Company’s GAAP financial results. Management believes that the presentation of these non-GAAP financial measures of the Company may be helpful to readers in understanding the Company’s financial performance when comparing the Company’s financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 because these non-GAAP financial measures present the Company’s financial performance excluding the financial impact of the merger-related expenses related to the Shore Merger in 2019 and the NJCB Merger in 2018.

The table below shows the major components of net income for the years ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 and a reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures to reported net income discussed above.
Change in
(Dollars in thousands)20202019$%
Net interest income$58,503 $47,336 $11,167 23.6 %
Provision for loan losses6,698 1,350 5,348 396.1 %
Non-interest income14,643 8,237 6,406 77.8 %
Non-interest expense41,755 35,549 6,206 17.5 %
Net income before income taxes24,693 18,674 6,019 32.2 %
Income taxes6,607 5,040 1,567 31.1 %
Net income18,086 13,634 4,452 32.7 %
Adjustments:
  Merger-related expenses64 1,730 (1,666)(96.3)%
  Income tax effect of adjustments(19)(394)375 (95.2)%
Total adjustments45 450001,336 (1,291)(96.63)%
Adjusted net income$18,131 $14,970 $3,161 21.1 %
Earnings per common share:
  Basic, as reported$1.77 $1.54 $0.23 14.9 %
  Adjustments0.15 (0.15)(100.0)%
  Basic, as adjusted$1.77 $1.69 $0.08 4.7 %
  Diluted, as reported$1.76 $1.53 $0.23 15.0 %
  Adjustments0.01 0.15 (0.14)(93.3)%
  Diluted, as adjusted$1.77 $1.68 $0.09 5.4 %
Return on average total assets:
As reported1.05 %1.06 %
Adjusted net income$18,131 $14,970 
Average assets1,716,202 1,283,302 
As adjusted1.06 %1.17 %
Return on average shareholders' equity:
As reported10.20 %9.87 %
Adjusted net income$18,131 $14,970 
Average shareholders' equity177,318 138,101 
As adjusted10.23 %10.84 %


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2019 compared to 2018

The Company reported net income of $13.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to net income of $12.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018. Diluted earnings per share were $1.53 for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to diluted earnings per share of $1.40 for the year ended December 31, 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2019, net income increased $1.6 million, or 13.2%, and net income per diluted share increased $0.13 or 9.3%.

On November 8, 2019, the Company completed the Shore Merger. As a result of the Shore Merger, merger-related expenses of $1.7 million were incurred and the after-tax effect of the merger-related expenses reduced net income for the year ended December 31, 2019 by $1.3 million. The acquisition method of accounting for the business combination resulted in the recognition of goodwill of $22.8 million. A core deposit intangible of $1.5 million and a fair value credit risk discount of $3.6 million applicable to loans were also recorded.

Adjusted net income, which excludes the after-tax effect of merger-related expenses and the gain from bargain purchase, for the year ended December 31, 2019 was $15.0 million, or $1.68 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $13.4 million, or $1.56 per diluted share, for the year ended December 31, 2018. Adjusted net income for 2019 increased $1.6 million or 12.0% compared to adjusted net income for 2018. The increase was due primarily to an increase of $3.9 million in net interest income and an increase of $319,000 in non-interest income, which was partially offset by an increase of $450,000 in the provision for loan losses and an increase of $1.9 million in non-interest expense. The Shore Merger, excluding merger-related expenses, contributed $682,000 to the net income and adjusted net income for the year ended December 31, 2019.

Return on average total assets (“ROAA”) and return on average shareholders' equity (“ROAE”) were 1.06% and 9.87%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 1.06% and 10.11%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2018. Excluding the merger-related expenses, ROAA and ROAE were 1.17% and 10.84%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared to 1.17% and 11.21%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2018.



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The table below shows the major components of net income for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 and a reconciliation of the non-GAAP measures to reported net income discussed above.
Change in
(Dollars in thousands)20192018$%
Net interest income$47,336 $43,432 $3,904 9.0 %
Provision for loan losses1,350 900 450 50.0 %
Non-interest income8,237 7,918 319 4.0 %
Non-interest expense35,549 34,085 1,464 4.3 %
Net income before income taxes18,674 16,365 2,309 14.1 %
Income taxes5,040 4,317 723 16.7 %
Net income13,634 12,048 1,586 13.2 %
Adjustments:
Revaluation of deferred tax assets— (28)28 N.M.
Merger-related expenses1,730 2,141 (411)(19.2)%
   Gain from bargain purchase— (230)230 N.M.
  Income tax effect of adjustments(394)(568)174 (30.6)%
Total adjustments1,336 1,315 21 1.6 %
Adjusted net income$14,970 $13,363 $1,607 12.0 %
Earnings per common share:
  Basic, as reported$1.54 $1.45 $0.09 6.2 %
  Adjustments0.15 0.16 (0.01)(6.3)%
  Basic, as adjusted$1.69 $1.61 $0.08 5.0 %
  Diluted, as reported$1.53 $1.40 $0.13 9.3 %
  Adjustments0.15 0.16 (0.01)(6.3)%
  Diluted, as adjusted$1.68 $1.56 $0.12 7.7 %
Return on average total assets:
As reported1.06 %1.06 %
Adjusted net income$14,970 $13,363 
Average assets1,283,302 1,137,768 
As adjusted1.17 %1.17 %
Return on average shareholders' equity:
As reported9.87 %10.11 %
Adjusted net income$14,970 $13,363 
Average shareholders' equity138,101 119,212 
As adjusted10.84 %11.21 %


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Net Interest Income and Net Interest Margin

Net interest income, the Company’s largest and most significant component of operating income, is the difference between interest and fees earned on loans, investment securities and other earning assets and interest paid on deposits and borrowed funds. This component represented 80%, 85% and 85% of the Company’s net revenues (net interest income plus non-interest income) for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. Net interest income is determined by the difference between the yields earned on earning assets and the rates paid on interest-bearing liabilities ("net interest spread") and the relative amounts of average earning assets and average interest-bearing liabilities. The Company's net interest spread is affected by the monetary policy of the Federal Reserve Board, and regulatory, economic and competitive factors that influence interest rates, loan demand and deposit flows as well as general levels of non-performing assets.

The following table summarizes the Company's net interest income and related spread and margin for the periods indicated:
Years ended December 31,
(Dollars in thousands)202020192018
Net interest income$58,503 $47,336 $43,432 
Interest rate spread3.44 %3.65 %3.81 %
Net interest margin3.71 %4.00 %4.09 %
 
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The following tables compare the Company’s consolidated average balance sheets, interest income and expense, net interest spreads and net interest margins for the years ended December 31, 2020, 2019 and 2018 (on a fully tax-equivalent basis). The average rates are derived by dividing interest income and expense by the average balance of assets and liabilities, respectively.
December 31, 2020
AverageAverage
(In thousands except yield/cost information)BalanceInterestYield/Cost
Assets
Interest-earning assets:
Federal funds sold/short term investments$23,478 $107 0.46 %
Investment securities:
Taxable156,464 3,289 2.10 
Tax-exempt (1)
79,581 2,459 3.09 
Total investment securities236,045 5,748 2.43 
Loans: (2)
Commercial real estate596,978 31,184 5.14 
Mortgage warehouse lines273,286 11,269 4.12 
Construction137,190 7,686 5.60 
Commercial business139,913 6,164 4.41 
SBA PPP loans50,042 1,542 3.08 
Residential real estate89,509 4,130 4.54 
Loans to individuals28,052 1,289 4.52 
Loans held for sale18,216 507 2.78 
All other loans801 37 4.54 
Deferred (fees) costs, net(657)— N/A
Total loans1,333,330 63,808 4.79 
Total interest-earning assets1,592,853 69,663 4.37 %
Non-interest-earning assets:
Allowance for loan losses(11,680)
Cash and due from banks12,158 
Other assets122,871 
Total non-interesting-earning assets123,349 
Total assets$1,716,202 
Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity
Interest-bearing liabilities:
Money market and NOW accounts$425,446 $2,420 0.57 %
Savings accounts286,149 2,049 0.72 
Certificates of deposit362,633 5,512 1.52 
Federal Reserve Bank PPPLF borrowings15,344 54 0.35 
Short-term borrowings30,567 174 0.57 
Redeemable subordinated debentures18,557 434 2.30 
Total interest-bearing liabilities1,138,696 10,643 0.93 %
Non-interest-bearing liabilities:
Demand deposits370,323 
Other liabilities29,865 
Total non-interest-bearing liabilities400,188 
Shareholders' equity177,318