MONTEBELLO, N.Y., Jan. 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sterling Bancorp (NYSE: STL), through its principal subsidiary, Sterling National Bank, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the asset-based and equipment finance lending businesses of Woodforest National Bank.

As of December 31, 2018, the balance of commercial loans and leases outstanding to be acquired was $504 million, with $339 million in asset-based loans and $165 million in equipment finance loans. The acquisition will add significant origination capabilities in the Midwest and Southwest regions to Sterling’s established national commercial lending platform, including a direct lending equipment finance sales and originations team. Pro forma for the acquisition, Sterling will have a combined $1.1 billion in asset-based loans and $1.4 billion in equipment finance loans.

Jack Kopnisky, President and CEO of Sterling noted, “The acquisition of this business is consistent with our strategy of accelerating the transition of our balance sheet to a more diversified and higher-yielding commercial loan mix, and will augment strong organic origination volumes that we anticipate in our commercial businesses in 2019. We look forward to welcoming our new colleagues and customers to Sterling.”

“Delivering excellent service and financing flexibility to our national Commercial Finance clients is our primary goal," stated Thomas X. Geisel, President, Corporate Banking Sterling National Bank. “This acquisition further strengthens our asset-based and equipment finance platforms, enhances our current footprint and expands our geographic reach.”

The transaction consideration will be paid in cash. In the quarter ended December 31, 2018, the portfolio to be acquired had a weighted average yield of approximately 5.5%, and consisted 24% of fixed rate loans and 76% floating rate loans. The acquisition will result in an increase of approximately $3 million in annual operating expenses. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2019.

About Sterling Bancorp
Sterling Bancorp, whose principal subsidiary is Sterling National Bank, specializes in the delivery of services and solutions to business owners, their families and consumers within the communities it serves through teams of dedicated and experienced relationship managers. Sterling National Bank offers a complete line of commercial, business, and consumer banking products and services. For more information, visit the Sterling Bancorp website at www.sterlingbancorp.com.

CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This release may contain "forward-looking statements" as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may concern Sterling's current expectations about its future results, plans, operations and prospects and are subject to numerous assumptions, risks and uncertainties, including inflation; the effects of, and changes in, trade; changes in asset quality and credit risk; introduction, withdrawal, success and timing of business initiatives; capital management activities; customer disintermediation; and the success of Sterling at managing these risks. Other factors that could cause Sterling's actual results to differ from those indicated in forward-looking statements are included in the "Risk Factors" section of Sterling's securities filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements included herein are only made as of the date hereof, and Sterling specifically disclaims any obligation to update these statements in the future.

STERLING BANCORP CONTACT: 
Luis Massiani, SEVP & Chief Financial Officer 
845.369.8040