Bridge Bancorp Inc. in Bridgehampton, N.Y., is planning to raise $24 million in fresh capital and intends to use the proceeds to steal market share from out-of-town banks that are invading its territory.

The parent company of Bridgehampton National Bank said Thursday in a news release that it will sell almost 1.4 million shares of common stock at $17.50 per share to institutional and other private investors.

Kevin M. O'Connor, Bridge's president and chief executive, said in an interview Friday that the $1.3 billion-asset company suspended a previously announced $10 million at-the-market offering and instead opted for the direct offering in order to raise capital quickly.

He said that the bank would use the funds to go after customers of other Long Island community banks that have been or are being purchased by larger companies.

People's United Financial in Bridgeport, Conn., acquired Smithtown Bancorp in Hauppauge, N.Y., last year and Valley National Bancorp in Wayne, N.J., has agreed to purchase State Bancorp in Jericho, N.Y. That deal is expected to close in early January.

"Any time there is a local institution where the management is out of the market, then it creates opportunities," O'Connor said. "Decisions should be made by the people who live on Long Island."

The direct offering is expected to close Tuesday.

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