Center Bancorp, Inc. Named to SNL Financial Annual Ranking of 2012's Top 100 Best Performing Community Banks in the U.S.

Center Bancorp, Inc. Logo

UNION, N.J., March 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Center Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNBC) (the "Corporation," or "Center"), parent company of Union Center National Bank ("UCNB" or "the Bank"), announces that it has been recognized by SNL Financial, a financial information firm, as one of 100 Top-Performing Community Banks of 2012 with $500M to $5B in assets in the country. It is the first time for Center to be recognized on this prestigious national list.

SNL Financial, a provider of news and data on the banking industry among other sectors, "ranked the best-performing community banks using six core financial performance metrics that focus on profitability, asset quality and growth for the 12-month period ended Dec. 31, 2012," it stated in its March 20, 2013 press release.

A "first" for Center to rank in this Top 100 Best Performing Community Banks list, "this recognition acknowledges the Bank's consistent focus on performance and strategic but conservative growth," states President & Chief Executive Officer Anthony C. Weagley. "As we enter 2013 and the beginning of Center's 'ninetieth' anniversary, we are focused, executing our business plans and in doing so advancing Center to a new level. Our number one priority is shareholder value and returns," added Mr. Weagley.

SNL Financial, located in Charlottesville, VA, collects, standardizes and disseminates all relevant corporate, financial, market and M&A data – plus news and analysis – for various industries, including banking, since 1987.

This SNL Financial ranking follows Center being named to the List of Top Performing Small-Cap Banks and Thrifts in the U.S. by Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P. in September, 2012 and having received Bauer Financial "Superior" Five-Star Rating for the 8th Consecutive Quarter. "These results are a testament of the Bank's directors, management, and entire staff team spirit as well as of investor confidence in our ability to deliver results," said Anthony C. Weagley. "Center's culture is relationship driven at every level and we continue to be recognized for our hallmark personalized service, commitment to excellence, and results," he added. "We couldn't be more proud of this new recognition."

About Center Bancorp

Center Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company, which operates Union Center National Bank, its main subsidiary. Chartered in 1923, Union Center National Bank is one of the oldest national banks headquartered in the state of New Jersey and now ranks as the third largest national bank headquartered in the state. Union Center National Bank is currently the largest commercial bank headquartered in Union County. Its primary market niche is its commercial banking business. The Bank focuses its lending activities on commercial lending to small- and medium-sized businesses, real estate developers and high net worth individuals.

The Bank, through its Private Banking and Wealth Management Division, which includes its wholly-owned subsidiary, Center Financial Group LLC, provides personalized wealth management and advisory services to high net worth individuals and families. Our services include banking, liquidity management, investment services, custody, tailored lending, wealth planning, trust and fiduciary services, insurance, family wealth advisory services and philanthropic advisory services. The Bank, through a strategic partnership between the Bank's Private Banking Division and Alexander, Troy & Company ("AT&CO."), Family Office Services, of Katonah, New York, provides customized financial and administrative services to high-net worth individuals.

Center also through a strategic partnership with Compass Financial Management, LLC and ING offers pension/401(k) planning services. Compass is an Investment Advisory Company with five decades of cumulative experience providing investment services in a personal, professional and attentive manner. They provide discretionary private investment management for individuals and corporate accounts as well as 401(k) advisory services.

The Bank currently operates 15 banking locations in Union, Morris and Bergen Counties in New Jersey. Banking centers are located in Union Township (5 locations), Berkeley Heights, Boonton/Mountain Lakes, Englewood, Madison, Millburn/Vauxhall, Morristown, Oakland, Saddle River, Springfield, and Summit, New Jersey. Center filed an application in March 2013 with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to open a Private Banking and Loan Production Office in Princeton, NJ. The Bank's primary market area is comprised of Union, Morris and Bergen Counties, New Jersey. For further information regarding Center Bancorp, Inc., please visit our web site at or call (800) 862-3683. For information regarding Union Center National Bank, please visit our web site at

Forward-Looking Statements

All non-historical statements in this press release (including statements regarding the opening of the Corporation's Englewood branch, the effects of the Corporation's balance sheet restructuring, the Corporation's ability to derive optimized long-term shareholder returns, the ability of the Corporation to leverage its regional and central infrastructure, the effects of the Corporation's strategic planning efforts, the ability of the Corporation to expand its franchise and services, the ability of the Corporation to recognize improved margins in future quarters, the likelihood of the Corporation's reporting growth in the fourth quarter, the Corporation's ability to disburse the Corporation's undisbursed loan commitments, the lack of material anticipated losses from the Corporation's non-accrual loans and the timing of foreclosure actions) constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements may use forward-looking terminology such as "expect," "look," "believe," "plan," "anticipate," "may," "will" or similar statements or variations of such terms or otherwise express views concerning trends and the future. Such forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties. These include, but are not limited to, the direction of interest rates, continued levels of loan quality and origination volume, Center Bancorp's ability to integrate Saddle River Valley Bank's branches into Center Bancorp's branch network, continued relationships with major customers including sources for loans, as well as the effects of international, national, regional and local economic conditions and legal and regulatory barriers and structure, including those relating to economic recovery and the deregulation of the financial services industry, and other risks cited in the Corporation's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports filed by the Corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ materially from such forward-looking statements. Center Bancorp, Inc. assumes no obligation for updating any such forward-looking statement at any time.

CONTACT: Investor Inquiries: Joseph Gangemi Senior Vice President Investor Relations 908.206.2863 Media Inquiries: France Delle Donne Senior Vice President Communications & PR 908.206.2668

Source:Center Bancorp, Inc.