New Jersey Bank CEO Details a Strategy for Success in a Tough Geography

January 17, 2019

Steven M. Klein is President and Chief Executive Officer of Northfield Bancorp. Mr. Klein is responsible for strategic planning and execution leadership, as well as the overall operations of Northfield including lending, deposit gathering and branch operations. Prior to joining Northfield, Mr. Klein was an audit partner in the New Jersey community banking practice of KPMG LLP.

In this exclusive 3,003 word interview in the Wall Street Transcript, Mr. Klein highlights the challenges of banking at this point in the economic cycle and the unique sustainable competitive advantages of Northfield Bancorp.

“Right now, one of the challenges is lower loan demand combined with a high level of competition from banks in the marketplace. If you look at a number of third-quarter earnings releases — and, in fact, a number of banks posted projections for 2019 — they are not modeling significant loan growth.

We are in the later stages of the economic cycle, combined with a rising rate environment, so we are just not seeing the same level of demand. For the most part, I would say pressure on net interest margins was a general theme of the third quarter in that the amount you were earning on your assets compared to what you are paying on your deposits was tightening.

It is a challenge for Northfield right now and for the industry in general.”

Mr. Klein also highlights the burdensome tax regime of New Jersey as an obstacle to growth:

“We continue to see buildings purchased and sold, loans refinanced and people investing in their business. As I mentioned, we are not in residential lending. Right now, if you look, especially in our region, at tax reform, it has had a negative impact on the amount of interest and state and local taxes that can be deducted. I can’t see how this won’t have a negative impact on residential lending in the region.”

To get the full picture from Steven Klein, read the exclusive 3,003 word interview in the Wall Street Transcript.