This excerpt taken from the VLY DEF 14A filed Mar 6, 2007.
Severance and Change-in-Control Agreements
We have written severance agreements with our NEOs (other than Mr. Lawrence as explained under Potential Payments on Termination of Employment or Change-in-Control below.) We recognize that the uncertainty arising from not having severance arrangements may have a negative impact on NEO performance. This uncertainty could induce our NEOs to seek employment elsewhere. We think that the security of a defined severance arrangement helps us retain the services of these key employees.
We also have written change-in-control agreements with each NEO, in order to be able to retain their services in case a change-in-control becomes a realistic possibility. Often when this happens, executives become distracted by personal concerns about how they will be affected by the change. Our change-in-control agreements provide financial security in the face of a possible major event requiring our NEOs concentrated efforts.