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Center Bancorp, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter Net Income Available to Common Shareholders of $4.4 Million or $0.27 Per Share and



Center Bancorp, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter Net Income Available to Common
Shareholders of $4.4 Million or $0.27 Per Share and Full Year 2012 Earnings
Available to Common Shareholders of $17.2 Million or $1.05 Per Share

UNION, N.J., Jan. 25, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Center Bancorp, Inc.
(Nasdaq:CNBC) (the "Corporation", or "Center"), parent company of Union Center
National Bank ("UCNB" or the "Bank"), today reported operating results for the
fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012. Net income available to common
stockholders amounted to $4.4 million, or $0.27 per fully diluted common
share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, as compared with net income
available to common stockholders of $3.2 million, or $0.20 per fully diluted
common share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2011.

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, net income available to common
stockholders amounted to $17.2 million, or $1.05 per fully diluted common
share, compared to $13.1 million, or $0.80 per fully diluted common share, for
the same period in 2011.

"Our fourth quarter operating performance remained strong and was
characterized by solid revenue growth, positive organic loan generation and a
continuation of our stable and favorable asset quality profile. We continue to
move forward with momentum in expanding our presence in key markets. With the
opening of our Englewood office we are working to solidify and expand the
service relationship with our new customers and remain excited by the
potential to create incremental shareholder value from our strategic growth.
We believe that this type of sequential earnings performance demonstrates the
Corporation's commitment to achieving meaningful growth in earnings
performance -- an essential component of providing consistent and favorable
long-term returns to our shareholders," said Anthony C. Weagley, President and
Chief Executive Officer of Union Center National Bank.

                     Highlights for the quarter include:

  * Strong balance sheet with improved credit trends compared to prior year.
     
  * At December 31, 2012, total loans amounted to $889.7 million, an increase
    of $134.7 million compared to total loans at December 31, 2011.
     
  * Noninterest expense decreased $29,000, or 0.47 percent, for the three
    months ended December 31, 2012 compared to the quarter ended December 31,
    2011
     
  * Reduction in non-performing assets, to 0.31 percent of total assets at
    December 31, 2012, compared to 0.34 percent at September 30, 2012 and 0.59
    percent at December 31, 2011. The allowance for loan losses as a
    percentage of total non-performing loans was 278.9 percent at December 31,
    2012 compared to 184.9 percent at September 30, 2012 and 121.5 percent at
    December 31, 2011.
     
  * The Tier 1 leverage capital ratio was 9.02 percent at December 31, 2012,
    compared to 8.96 percent at September 30, 2012, and 9.29 percent at
    December 31, 2011, exceeding regulatory guidelines in all periods.
     
  * Tangible book value per common share rose to $8.11 at December 31, 2012,
    compared to $6.60 at December 31, 2011 and $7.90 at September 30, 2012.
     
  * The efficiency ratio for the fourth quarter of 2012 on an annualized basis
    was 46.9 percent as compared to 53.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011
    and 47.7 percent in the third quarter of 2012.
     
  * Deposits increased $185.5 million to $1.3 billion at December 31, 2012,
    from $1.1 billion at December 31, 2011 in part as a result of the Saddle
    River Valley Bank transaction.

Selected Financial Ratios
(unaudited; annualized where                                           
applicable)
                                                                       
As of or for the quarter ended:      12/31/12 9/30/12 6/30/12 3/31/12 12/31/11
Return on average assets             1.11%    1.13%   1.16%   1.16%   1.03%
Return on average equity             11.17%   11.67%  11.96%  12.05%  10.72%
Net interest margin (tax equivalent  3.32%    3.28%   3.29%   3.39%   3.50%
basis)
Loans / deposits ratio               68.07%   67.28%  68.70%  68.36%  67.32%
Stockholders' equity / total assets  9.86%    9.75%   9.86%   9.62%   9.49%
Efficiency ratio (1)                 46.9%    47.7%   47.1%   49.3%   53.7%
Book value per common share           $ 9.14   $ 8.93  $ 8.36  $ 8.01  $ 7.63
Return on average tangible equity    12.49%   13.12%  13.53%  13.70%  12.25%
(1)
Tangible common stockholders' equity 8.22%    8.09%   8.08%   7.81%   7.61%
/ tangible assets (1)
Tangible book value per common share $ 8.11   $ 7.90  $ 7.33  $ 6.98  $ 6.60
(1)

(1) Information reconciling non-GAAP measures to GAAP measures is presented
elsewhere in this press release.

Non-performing assets (NPAs) at the end of the fourth quarter totaled $5.0
million, or 0.31 percent of total assets, as compared with $8.5 million, or
0.59 percent, at December 31, 2011 and $5.5 million, or 0.34 percent, at
September 30, 2012. "Asset quality remains a primary focus, and our actions
with respect to asset quality have placed us near the top of all publicly
traded banks and thrifts in the state of New Jersey," said Mr. Weagley. "At
the same time, we continue to cautiously maintain our reserves for any
potential loan losses."

Net Interest Income

For the three months ended December 31, 2012, total interest income on a fully
taxable equivalent basis increased $1.2 million or 8.6 percent, to $14.8
million, compared to the three months ended December 31, 2011. Total interest
expense decreased by $260,000, or 8.4 percent, to $2.8 million, for the three
months ended December 31, 2012, compared to the same period last year. Net
interest income on a fully taxable equivalent basis was $12.0 million for the
three months ended December 31, 2012, increasing $1.5 million, or 13.7
percent, from $10.5 million for the comparable period in 2011. Compared to
2011, for the three months ended December 31, 2012, average interest earning
assets increased $237.9 million while net interest spread and margin, on a
tax-equivalent basis, decreased on an annualized basis by 21 basis points and
18 basis points, respectively. For the quarter ended December 31, 2012, the
Corporation's net interest margin on a fully taxable equivalent annualized
basis decreased to 3.32 percent as compared to 3.50 percent for the same three
month period in 2011.

The 8.4 percent decrease in interest expense reflects a favorable shift in the
deposit mix and the impact of the sustained low levels in short-term interest
rates, offsetting higher volumes of interest bearing deposits. The average
cost of funds declined 21 basis points to 0.92 percent from 1.13 percent for
the quarter ended December 31, 2011 and on a linked sequential quarter
decreased 3 basis points compared to the third quarter of 2012. For the
quarter ended December 31, 2012, the Corporation's annualized net interest
spread decreased to 3.19 percent as compared to 3.40 percent for the same
three month period in 2011.

Earnings Summary for the Period Ended December 31, 2012

The following tables present condensed consolidated statement of income data
for the periods indicated. 

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income (unaudited)
(dollars in thousands,                                               
except per share data)
For the quarter ended:  12/31/12   9/30/12    6/30/12    3/31/12    12/31/11
Net interest income     $ 11,422   $ 11,183   $ 10,546   $ 10,345   $ 10,162
Provision for loan      100        225        (107)      107        300
losses
Net interest income
after provision for     11,322     10,958     10,653     10,238     9,862
loan losses
Other income            1,016      2,635      1,604      1,955      1,866
Other expense           6,193      7,507      5,690      5,807      6,222
Income before income    6,145      6,086      6,567      6,386      5,506
tax expense
Income tax expense      1,676      1,632      2,214      2,155      1,884
Net income              $ 4,469    $ 4,454    $ 4,353    $ 4,231    $ 3,622
Net income available to $  4,441   $ 4,426    $ 4,269    $ 4,090    $ 3,238
common stockholders
Earnings per common                                                  
share:
Basic                   $ 0.27     $ 0.27     $ 0.26     $ 0.25     $ 0.20
Diluted                 $ 0.27     $ 0.27     $ 0.26     $ 0.25     $ 0.20
Weighted average common                                              
shares outstanding:
Basic                   16,347,564 16,347,088 16,333,653 16,332,327 16,311,193
Diluted                 16,363,698 16,362,635 16,341,767 16,338,162 16,327,990

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, net interest income on a fully
taxable equivalent basis amounted to $45.4 million, compared to $40.6 million
for the same period in 2011. For the twelve month period ended December 31,
2012, interest income increased by $4.4 million while interest expense
decreased by $401,000 from the same period last year. Compared to the same
period in 2011, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, average
interest earning assets increased $216.7 million while net interest spread and
margin decreased on a tax-equivalent basis by 20 basis points and 21 basis
points, respectively.

Commenting on the Corporation's net interest margins, Mr. Weagley
remarked: "Prior compression during quarterly periods of 2012, occurred
primarily as result of a continued high liquidity pool carried during the
periods, which has not been entirely offset by investing activity; however,
during the fourth quarter prior action to improve margins started to abate
further compression. We expect an improvement in margin, principally given the
continued volume of asset deployment into loans from cash and elimination of
temporary factors holding the margin down."  

Other Income

The following tables present the components of other income for the periods
indicated.

(in thousands, unaudited)                                              
For the quarter ended:               12/31/12 9/30/12 6/30/12 3/31/12 12/31/11
Service charges on deposit accounts  $ 324    $ 333   $ 287   $ 314   $ 344
Loan related fees                    220      85      95      110     149
Net gains on sales of loans held for 170      88      100     126     99
sale
Annuities and insurance commissions  67       45      48      44      29
Debit card and ATM fees              125      126     134     132     137
Bank-owned life insurance            282      239     246     251     258
Net investment securities gains      (201)    763     513     937     817
(losses)
Bargain gain on acquisition          —        899     —       —       —
Other fees                           29       57      181     41      33
Total other income                   $ 1,016  $ 2,635 $ 1,604 $ 1,955 $ 1,866

Other income decreased $850,000 for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with
the same period in 2011. During the fourth quarter of 2012, the Corporation
recorded net investment securities losses of $201,000 compared to $817,000 in
net investment securities gains for the same period last year. Excluding net
securities losses, the Corporation recorded other income of $1.2 million for
the three months ended December 31, 2012 compared to other income, excluding
net securities gains, of $1.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2011 and $1.9
million for the three months ended September 30, 2012. The increase in other
income in the fourth quarter of 2012 when compared to the fourth quarter of
2011 (excluding securities losses/gains) was primarily from an increase of
$71,000 in loan related fees, an increase of $71,000 in gains on loans held
for sale, an increase in bank owned life insurance income of $24,000 and an
increase of $38,000 in annuities and insurance commissions, partially offset
by a $20,000 decline in service charges on deposit accounts, a $12,000 decline
in debit card and ATM fees, and a $4,000 decline in other income .

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, total other income decreased
$268,000 compared to the same period in 2011, as a $899,000 bargain gain on
acquisition, $311,000 in higher loan fees and higher net gains on sale of
loans held for sale, a $150,000 gain from the sale of judgments and $94,000 in
higher annuity commissions were offset by lower net securities gains of $1.6
million and decreases of $121,000 in fee income and $20,000 in BOLI revenue.
Excluding net securities gains and losses and the 2012 bargain gain on
acquisition, the Corporation recorded other income of $4.3 million for the
twelve months ended December 31, 2012 compared to other income, excluding net
securities gains, of $3.8 million for the comparable period in 2011, an
increase of $455,000 or 11.8 percent.

Total other expense for the fourth quarter of 2012 amounted to $6.2 million,
which was approximately $1.3 million or 17.5 percent lower than other expense
for the three months ended September 30, 2012; excluding repurchase agreement
prepayment and termination fee and acquisition costs incurred during the third
quarter of 2012, total other expense increased by $160,000 or 2.7 percent.
Employee salaries and benefits increased $12,000, occupancy and equipment
expense increased $203,000, stationery and printing expense increased $31,000,
bank regulatory related expense increased $5,000, postage and delivery
increased $6,000, ATM related expense increased $8,000, and all other expense
increased $32,000; these increases were partially offset by decreases in
professional and consulting of $17,000, marketing and advertising of $29,000
and computer expense of $28,000.

Other Expense

The following tables present the components of other expense for the periods
indicated. 

(in thousands, unaudited)                                              
For the quarter ended:             12/31/12 9/30/12 6/30/12 3/31/12   12/31/11
Salaries                           $ 2,495  $ 2,505 $ 2,347 $   2,344 $ 2,290
Employee benefits                  710      688     708     774       619
Occupancy and equipment            942      739     606     700       701
Professional and consulting        260      277     294     246       351
Stationery and printing            100      69      96      84        95
FDIC Insurance                     293      292     270     299       328
Marketing and advertising          35       64      56      31        15
Computer expense                   338      366     362     353       323
Bank regulatory related expenses   82       77      75      78        108
Postage and delivery               61       55      71      79        42
ATM related expenses               72       64      69      62        58
Other real estate owned, net       1        65      22      62        399
Amortization of core deposit       10       10      11      13        12
intangible
Repurchase agreement prepayment    —        1,012   —       —         —
and termination fee
Acquisition cost                   10       472     —       —         —
All other expenses                 784      752     703     682       881
Total other expense                $ 6,193  $ 7,507 $ 5,690 $ 5,807   $ 6,222

The decrease in other expense for the three months ended December 31, 2012,
when compared to the quarter ended December 31, 2011, was approximately
$29,000. Decreases primarily included professional and consulting of $91,000,
FDIC insurance of $35,000, bank regulatory related expense of $26,000, OREO
expense of $398,000 and all other expenses of $97,000. These decreases were
partially offset by increases of $296,000 in salaries and benefit expense,
$241,000 in occupancy and equipment expense, which primarily reflect the
increased costs of the Saddle River Valley Bank acquisition and the new
Englewood office.  

For the twelve months ended December 31, 2012, total other expense increased
$1.8 million, or 7.5 percent, compared to the same period in 2011. Excluding
the repurchase agreement prepayment and termination fee and acquisition cost,
the increase was $260,000, or 1.1 percent. Increases primarily included
salaries and employee benefits of $1.0 million, $40,000 in occupancy and
equipment, which primarily reflect the increased costs of the Saddle River
Valley Bank acquisition and the new Englewood office , $55,000 in marketing
and advertising and $107,000 in computer expense. These increases were
partially offset by decreases of $558,000 in FDIC insurance expense, $79,000
in professional and consulting, $248,000 in OREO expense and $82,000 in all
other expenses.

Statement of Condition Highlights at December 31, 2012

  o Total assets amounted to $1.6 billion at December 31, 2012.
     
  o Total loans were $889.7 million at December 31, 2012, increasing $134.7
    million, or 17.8 percent, from December 31, 2011. Total real estate loans
    increased $86.9 million, or 16.1 percent, from December 31, 2011.
    Commercial loans increased $47.6 million, or 22.2 percent, year over year.
     
  o Investment securities totaled $554.9 million at December 31, 2012,
    reflecting an increase of $68.1 million or 14.0 percent from December 31,
    2011.
     
  o Deposits totaled $1.3 billion at December 31, 2012, increasing $185.5
    million, or 16.5 percent, since December 31, 2011. Total Demand, Savings,
    Money Market, and certificates of deposit less than $100,000 increased
    $212.7 million or 21.6 percent from December 31, 2011. Time certificates
    of deposit of $100,000 or more decreased by $27.2 million or 19.7 percent
    from December 31, 2011. The increases were attributable to continued core
    deposit growth in overall segments of the deposit base, as well as the
    Saddle River Valley Bank transaction.
     
  o Borrowings totaled $146.0 million at December 31, 2012, decreasing $15.0
    million from December 31, 2011, primarily due to the termination of a
    $10.0 million repurchase agreement and the prepayment of a $5.0 million
    FHLB New York advance.

Condensed Statements of Condition

The following tables present condensed statements of condition as of the dates
indicated. 

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Condition (unaudited)
(in thousands)                                                        
At quarter ended:   12/31/12    9/30/12     6/30/12     3/31/12      12/31/11
Cash and due from   $ 104,134   $ 100,106   $ 73,668    $  78,207    $ 111,101
banks
Interest bearing    2,004       2,002       12,000      —            —
deposits with banks
Investment                                                            
securities:
Available for sale  496,815     509,605     467,190     454,994      414,507
Held to maturity    58,064      56,503      62,997      69,610       72,233
Loans held for
sale, at lower of   1,491       1,055       501         2,060        1,018
cost or fair value
Loans               889,672     869,998     806,953     788,562      754,992
Allowance for loan  (10,237)    (10,240)    (10,221)    (9,754)      (9,602)
losses
Restricted
investment in bank  8,964       8,964       9,139       9,233        9,233
stocks, at cost
Premises and        13,563      13,564      12,218      12,266       12,327
equipment, net
Goodwill            16,804      16,804      16,804      16,804       16,804
Core deposit        54          64          73          85           98
intangible
Bank-owned life     34,961      29,679      29,440      29,194       28,943
insurance
Other real estate   1,300       —           453         558          591
owned
Other assets        12,176      13,975      19,807      24,776       20,493
Total assets        $ 1,629,765 $ 1,612,079 $ 1,501,022 $ 1,476,595  $
                                                                     1,432,738
Deposits            $ 1,306,922 $ 1,293,013 $ 1,174,649 $ 1,153,473  $
                                                                     1,121,415
Borrowings          151,155     151,205     166,262     166,155      166,155
Other liabilities   10,997      10,676      12,128      14,886       9,252
Stockholders'       160,691     157,185     147,983     142,081      135,916
equity
Total liabilities                                                    $
and stockholders'   $ 1,629,765 $ 1,612,079 $ 1,501,022 $  1,476,595 1,432,738
equity

The following tables reflect the composition of the Corporation's deposits as
of the dates indicated. 

Deposits                                                            
(unaudited)
(in thousands)                                                      
At quarter ended:  12/31/12    9/30/12     6/30/12     3/31/12     12/31/11
Demand:                                                             
Non-interest       $ 215,071   $ 192,321   $ 181,282   $  172,342  $  167,164
bearing
Interest-bearing   217,922     222,660     199,064     197,648     215,523
Savings            216,274     218,732     207,151     209,436     200,930
Money market       493,836     488,189     432,507     411,626     351,237
Time               163,819     171,111     154,645     162,421     186,561
Total deposits     $ 1,306,922 $ 1,293,013 $ 1,174,649 $ 1,153,473 $ 1,121,415

Loans

The following reflects the composition of the Corporation's loan portfolio as
of the dates indicated. 

Loans (unaudited)                                                     
(in thousands)                                                        
At quarter ended:            12/31/12  9/30/12   6/30/12   3/31/12   12/31/11
Real estate loans:                                                    
Residential                  $ 158,361 $ 162,070 $ 147,431 $ 147,607 $ 150,749
Commercial                   428,673   424,574   381,348   371,855   358,245
Construction                 40,272    40,867    33,521    34,093    31,378
Total real estate loans      627,306   627,511   562,300   553,555   540,372
Commercial loans             261,791   242,008   244,294   234,549   214,167
Consumer and other loans     452       324       196       399       436
Total loans before deferred  889,549   869,843   806,790   788,503   754,975
fees and costs
Deferred costs, net          123       155       163       59        17
Total loans                  $ 889,672 $ 869,998 $ 806,953 $ 788,562 $ 754,992

The Corporation's net loans in the fourth quarter of 2012 increased $19.7
million, to $879.4 million at December 31, 2012, from $859.8 million at
September 30, 2012. This includes allowance for loan losses of $10.2 million
at both December 31, 2012 and September 30, 2012. The loan growth during the
period amounted to approximately $89.2 million in new loans and advances
during the fourth quarter. This growth was offset in part by prepayments of
$31.5 million coupled with scheduled payments, maturities and payoffs of $38.1
million. Average loans during the fourth quarter of 2012 totaled $864.9
million as compared to $726.0 million during the fourth quarter of 2011,
representing a 19.1 percent increase.

At the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, the loan portfolio remained well
diversified with commercial and industrial (C&I) loans, including
owner-occupied commercial real estate loans, accounting for 30.4 percent of
the loan portfolio, commercial real estate loans representing 45.0 percent of
the loan portfolio, and personal and other loans representing 20.1 percent of
the loan portfolio. Construction and development loans accounted for only 4.5
percent of the loan portfolio. The loan volume increase within the portfolio
amounted to $70.4 million in commercial and commercial real estate loans, $8.9
million in construction loans, and $7.6 million in residential mortgage loans.
At December 31, 2011, net loans totaled $745.4 million.

At December 31, 2012, the Corporation had $242.2 million in overall
undisbursed loan commitments, which includes largely unused commercial lines
of credit, home equity lines of credit and available usage from active
construction facilities. Included in the overall undisbursed commitments are
the Corporation's "Approved, Accepted but Unfunded" pipeline, which includes
approximately $58.1 million in commercial and commercial real estate loans and
$10.9 million in residential mortgages expected to fund over the next 90 days.

Asset Quality

Non-accrual loans decreased from $5.0 million at September 30, 2012 to $3.6
million at December 31, 2012. Loans past due 90 days or more and still
accruing decreased from $570,000 at September 30, 2012 to $55,000 at December
31, 2012.  Other real estate owned at December 31, 2012 was $1.3 million, as
compared to zero at September 30, 2012. Performing troubled debt restructured
loans, which are performing loans, decreased from $6.9 million at September
30, 2012 to $6.8 million at December 31, 2012, reflecting the receipt of
payments of $38,000 on loans in performing status.

"We continued to move forward with resolution of outstanding credit quality
issues during the fourth quarter. As previously stated, our approach to credit
management and diligence at monitoring and managing problem credits has aided
in the continued reduction in the levels of nonaccrual loans and problem
credits. Our underwriting and overall credit philosophies remain conservative
and have provided the Bank with the high quality well-diversified loan
portfolio that the Corporation has today," commented Mr. Weagley. 

The following tables present the components of non-performing assets and other
asset quality data for the periods indicated.

 (dollars in thousands,                                              
unaudited)
As of or for the        12/31/12   9/30/12    6/30/12    3/31/12    12/31/11
quarter ended:
Non-accrual loans       $ 3,616    $ 4,967    $ 3,943    $ 7,125    $   6,871
Loans 90 days or more
past due and still      55         570        1,026      1,062      1,029
accruing
Total non-performing    3,671      5,537      4,969      8,187      7,900
loans
Other non-performing    —          —          —          —          —
assets
Other real estate owned 1,300      —          453        558        591
Total non-performing    $ 4,971    $ 5,537    $ 5,422    $ 8,745    $ 8,491
assets
Performing troubled     $ 6,813    $ 6,851    $ 8,736    $ 6,900    $ 7,459
debt restructured loans
                                                                     
Non-performing assets / 0.31%      0.34%      0.36%      0.59%      0.59%
total assets
Non-performing loans /  0.41%      0.64%      0.62%      1.04%      1.05%
total loans
Net charge-offs         $ 103      $ 206      $ (574)    $ (45)     $   234
(recoveries)
Net charge-offs
(recoveries) / average  0.05%      0.10%      (0.29)%    (0.02)%    0.13%
loans (1)
Allowance for loan      1.15%      1.18%      1.27%      1.24%      1.27%
losses / total loans
Allowance for loan
losses / non-performing 278.9%     184.9%     205.7%     119.1%     121.5%
loans
                                                                     
Total assets            $1,629,765 $1,612,079 $1,501,022 $1,476,595 $1,432,738
Total loans             889,672    869,998    806,953    788,562    754,981
Average loans           864,829    850,059    790,382    755,813    725,974
Allowance for loan      10,237     10,240     10,221     9,754      9,602
losses

(1)     Annualized.

At December 31, 2012, non-performing assets totaled $5.0 million, or 0.31
percent of total assets, as compared with $8.5 million, or 0.59 percent, at
December 31, 2011 and $5.5 million, or 0.34 percent, at September 30,
2012. The decrease from December 31, 2011 was achieved notwithstanding the
addition of several new residential loans (totaling approximately $1.2
million) and construction and commercial loans (totaling approximately $1.0
million) into non-performing status. This was more than offset by decreases
from payoffs and pay-downs of $1.7 million, total charge-offs or write downs
of $175,000, the transfer to other real estate owned during the last twelve
months of $1.3 million and the return to performing status of $3.9 million. 

The allowance for loan losses at December 31, 2012 amounted to approximately
$10.2 million, or 1.15 percent of total loans. Excluding loans acquired from
Saddle River Valley Bank and carried at fair value, the coverage ratio was
1.22 percent, compared to 1.27 percent of total loans at December 31, 2011.
The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total non-performing loans
was 278.9 percent at December 31, 2012 compared to 121.5 percent at December
31, 2011.

A discussion of the significant components of non-performing assets at
December 31, 2012 is outlined below.

  * One non-accrual relationship totaling $2.1 million, secured by senior
    liens on two separate residential properties, located in Morris County,
    New Jersey, has been in foreclosure; no material loss to the Corporation
    is anticipated, although no assurance can be made with respect to the
    outcome at this time. One of the two loans secured by residential Morris
    County properties totaling $699,000 was modified, and is current with its
    modification plan. A deed in lieu was accepted in the amount of $1.3
    million on the second property, which was subsequently transferred to
    OREO. The Corporation is marketing the property for sale.
     
  * Two loans acquired from Saddle River Valley Bank during the third quarter
    of 2012 were deemed impaired at the time of acquisition. 

  The fair value at acquisition of the first loan had been calculated at
  $453,100, a steep discount to the borrower's true balance. The Corporation
  has negotiated a full settlement with the borrower in lieu of foreclosure on
  multiple residential properties in New York State, which is expected to
  result in proceeds at or about the loan's fair value. The transaction is
  expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2013.

  The second loan when acquired had a calculated fair value of
  $310,585. Similarly, the value of this loan was a significant discount to
  the borrower's true balance. A sale of the loan, secured with a property in
  New York State, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2013 at a value
  in excess of the loan's fair value.

  No assurance can be made with respect to the outcome of either transaction. 

Capital

At December 31, 2012, total stockholders' equity amounted to $160.7 million,
or 9.86 percent of total assets. Tangible common stockholders' equity was
$132.6 million, or 8.22 percent of tangible assets, compared to 7.61 percent
at December 31, 2011. Book value per common share was $9.14 at December 31,
2012, compared to $7.63 at December 31, 2011. Tangible book value per common
share was $8.11 at December 31, 2012 compared to $6.60 at December 31, 2011.

At December 31, 2012, the Corporation's Tier 1 leverage capital ratio was 9.02
percent, the Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 11.39 percent and the total
risk-based capital ratio was 12.22 percent. Tier 1 capital increased to
approximately $143.8 million at December 31, 2012 from $129.4 million at
December 31, 2011, reflecting an increase in retained earnings.

At December 31, 2012, the Corporation's capital ratios continued to exceed the
minimum Federal requirements for a bank holding company, and Union Center
National Bank's capital ratios continued to exceed each of the minimum levels
required for classification as a "well capitalized institution" under the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Improvement Act ("FDICIA").

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Reported amounts are presented in accordance with accounting principles
generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"). The Corporation's
management believes that the supplemental non-GAAP information provided in
this press release is utilized by market analysts and others to evaluate a
company's financial condition and, therefore, that such information is useful
to investors. These disclosures should not be viewed as a substitute for
financial results determined in accordance with GAAP, nor are they necessarily
comparable to non-GAAP performance measures presented by other companies.

"Return on average tangible stockholders' equity" is a non-GAAP financial
measure and is defined as net income as a percentage of tangible stockholders'
equity. Tangible stockholders' equity is defined as common stockholders'
equity less goodwill and other intangible assets. The return on average
tangible stockholders' equity measure may be important to investors that are
interested in analyzing the Corporation's return on equity excluding the
effect of changes in intangible assets on equity.

The following tables present a reconciliation of average tangible
stockholders' equity and a reconciliation of return on average tangible
stockholders' equity for the periods presented. 

(dollars in thousands)                                                
For the quarter ended:       12/31/12  9/30/12   6/30/12   3/31/12   12/31/11
Net income                   $ 4,469   $ 4,454   $ 4,353   $ 4,231   $ 3,622
Average stockholders' equity $ 160,006 $ 152,686 $ 145,607 $ 140,411 $ 135,142
Less:
Average goodwill and other   16,864    16,874    16,884    16,897    16,910
intangible assets
Average tangible             $ 143,142 $ 135,812 $ 128,723 $ 123,514 $ 118,232
stockholders' equity
                                                                      
Return on average            11.17%    11.67%    11.96%    12.05%    10.72%
stockholders' equity
Add:
Average goodwill and other   1.32%     1.45%     1.57%     1.65%     1.53%
intangible assets
Return on average tangible   12.49%    13.12%    13.53%    13.70%    12.25%
stockholders' equity

"Tangible book value per common share" is a non-GAAP financial measure and
represents tangible stockholders' equity (or tangible book value) calculated
on a per common share basis. The disclosure of tangible book value per common
share may be helpful to those investors who seek to evaluate the Corporation's
book value per common share without giving effect to goodwill and other
intangible assets.

The following tables present a reconciliation of stockholders' equity to
tangible common stockholders' equity and book value per common share to
tangible book value per common share as of the dates presented. 

(dollars in thousands, except per share data)
At quarter ended:       12/31/12   9/30/12    6/30/12    3/31/12    12/31/11
Common shares           16,347,915 16,347,088 16,347,088 16,332,327 16,332,327
outstanding
Stockholders' equity    $ 160,691  $ 157,185  $ 147,983  $ 142,081  $ 135,916
Less: Preferred stock   11,250     11,250     11,250     11,250     11,250
Less: Goodwill and      16,858     16,868     16,877     16,889     16,902
other intangible assets
Tangible common         $ 132,583  $ 129,067  $ 119,856  $ 113,942  $ 107,764
stockholders' equity
                                                                     
Book value per common   $ 9.14     $  8.93    $ 8.36     $ 8.01     $ 7.63
share
Less: Goodwill and      1.03       1.03       1.03       1.03       1.03
other intangible assets
Tangible book value per $ 8.11     $ 7.90     $ 7.33     $ 6.98     $ 6.60
common share

"Tangible common stockholders' equity/tangible assets" is a non-GAAP financial
measure and is defined as tangible common stockholders' equity as a percentage
of total assets minus goodwill and other intangible assets. This measure may
be important to investors that are interested in analyzing the financial
condition of the Corporation without consideration of intangible assets,
inasmuch as tangible common stockholders' equity and tangible assets both
exclude goodwill and other intangible assets.

The following tables present a reconciliation of total assets to tangible
assets and a comparison of total stockholders' equity/total assets to tangible
common stockholders' equity/tangible assets as of the dates presented. 

(dollars in thousands)                                               
At quarter ended:       12/31/12   9/30/12    6/30/12    3/31/12    12/31/11
Total assets            $1,629,765 $1,612,079 $1,501,022 $1,476,595 $1,432,738
Less: Goodwill and      16,858     16,868     16,877     16,889     16,902
other intangible assets
Tangible assets         $1,612,907 $1,595,211 $1,484,145 $1,459,706 $1,415,836
                                                                     
Total stockholders'     9.86%      9.75%      9.86%      9.62%      9.49%
equity / total assets
Tangible common
stockholders' equity /  8.22%      8.09%      8.08%      7.81%      7.61%
tangible assets

Other income is presented in the table below including and excluding net
gains. We believe that many investors desire to evaluate other income without
regard for gains. 

(in thousands)                                                         
For the quarter ended:               12/31/12 9/30/12 6/30/12 3/31/12 12/31/11
Other income                         $ 1,016  $ 2,635 $ 1,604 $ 1,955 $ 1,866
Less: Net investment securities      (201)    763     513     937     817
gains (losses)
Less: Bargain gain on acquisition    —        899     —       —       —
Other income, excluding net
investment securities gains (        $ 1,217  $ 973   $ 1,091 $ 1,018 $ 1,049
losses)  and bargain gain on
acquisition

"Efficiency ratio" is a non-GAAP financial measure and is defined as other
expense as a percentage of net interest income on a tax equivalent basis plus
other income, excluding net securities gains, calculated as follows: 

(dollars in thousands)                                                 
For the quarter ended:            12/31/12 9/30/12  6/30/12  3/31/12  12/31/11
Other expense                     $ 6,193  $ 7,507  $ 5,690  $ 5,807  $ 6,222
Less: Repurchase agreement        —        1,012    —        —        —
termination fee
Less: Acquisition cost            10       472      —        —        —
Other expense, excluding          $ 6,183  $ 6,023  $ 5,690  $ 5,807  $ 6,222
extraordinary items
                                                                       
Net interest income (tax          $ 11,969 $ 11,663 $ 10,990 $ 10,761 $ 10,531
equivalent basis)
Other income, excluding net       1,217    973      1,091    1,018    1,049
investment securities gains
Total                             $ 13,186 $ 12,636 $ 12,081 $ 11,779 $ 11,580
                                                                       
Efficiency ratio                  46.9%    47.7%    47.1%    49.3%    53.7%

The following table sets forth the Corporation's consolidated average
statements of condition for the periods presented. 

Condensed Consolidated Average Statements of Condition (unaudited)
(in thousands)                                                      
For the quarter   12/31/12    9/30/12     6/30/12     3/31/12      12/31/11
ended:
Investment                                                          
securities
Available for     $ 517,179   $ 508,864   $ 473,963   $ 443,109    $ 409,480
sale
Held to maturity  58,929      60,275      66,626      72,401       69,587 
Loans             864,829     850,059     790,382     755,813      725,974
Allowance for     (10,188)    (10,197)    (9,813)     (9,683)      (9,506)
loan losses
All other assets  181,306     172,032     177,100     199,631      214,984
Total assets      $ 1,612,055 $ 1,581,033 $ 1,498,258 $  1,461,271 $ 1,410,519
Non-interest      $ 205,278   $ 183,858   $ 173,248   $   167,921  $ 166,027
bearing deposits
Interest-bearing  1,079,351   1,066,849   1,002,230   976,958       934,774
deposits
Borrowings        151,364     164,294     166,299     166,375      166,155
Other liabilities 16,056      13,346      10,874      9,606        8,421
Stockholders'     160,006     152,686     145,607     140,411      135,142
equity
Total liabilities                                     $
and stockholders' $ 1,612,055 $ 1,581,033 $ 1,498,258   1,461,271  $ 1,410,519
equity

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, 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, Madison,
Millburn/Vauxhall, Morristown, Oakland, Saddle River, Springfield, and Summit,
New Jersey. The Bank's primary market area is comprised of Union, Morris and
Bergen Counties, New Jersey. Also, the Corporation opened the new Englewood
banking center, located in downtown Englewood, NJ, in December. 

For further information regarding Center Bancorp, Inc., please visit our web
site at http://www.centerbancorp.com or call (800) 862-3683. For information
regarding Union Center National Bank, please visit our web site at
www.ucnb.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

All non-historical statements in this press release (including statements
regarding our expanding our presence in key markets, our potential to create
incremental shareholder value from our strategic growth, growth in earnings
performance, the amount of the Small Business Lending Fund dividend and margin
improvement,  ) 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.

CENTER BANCORP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CONDITION
                                                              
                                           (Unaudited)       (Audited)
(in thousands, except for share and per    December 31, 2012 December 31, 2011
share data)
                                                              
ASSETS                                                        
Cash and due from banks                    $ 104,134         $ 111,101
Interest bearing deposits with banks       2,004             —
Total cash and cash equivalents            106,138           111,101
Investment securities:                                        
Available for sale                         496,815           414,507
Held to maturity (fair value of $62,431 at
December 31, 2012 and $74,922 at December  58,064            72,233
31, 2011)
Loans held for sale, at lower of cost or   1,491             1,018
fair value
Loans                                      889,672           754,992
Less: Allowance for loan losses            10,237            9,602
Net loans                                  879,435           745,390
Restricted investment in bank stocks, at   8,964             9,233
cost
Premises and equipment, net                13,563            12,327
Accrued interest receivable                6,849             6,219
Bank-owned life insurance                  34,961            28,943
Goodwill                                   16,804            16,804
Prepaid FDIC assessments                   811               1,884
Other real estate owned                    1,300             591
Other assets                               4,570             12,488
Total assets                               $ 1,629,765       $ 1,432,738
                                                              
LIABILITIES                                                   
Deposits:                                                     
Non-interest bearing                       $ 215,071         $ 167,164
Interest-bearing:                                             
Time deposits $100 and over                110,835           137,998
Interest-bearing transaction, savings and  981,016           816,253
time deposits less than $100
Total deposits                             1,306,922         1,121,415
Long-term borrowings                       146,000           161,000
Subordinated debentures                    5,155             5,155
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities   10,997            9,252
Total liabilities                          1,469,074         1,296,822
                                                              
STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY                                          
Preferred stock, $1,000 liquidation value
per share, authorized 5,000,000 shares;     11,250            11,250
issued 11,250 shares Series B at December
31, 2012 and December 31, 2011
Common stock, no par value, authorized
25,000,000 shares; issued 18,477,412
shares at December 31, 2012 and December    110,056          110,056
31, 2011; outstanding 16,347,915 shares at
December 31, 2012 and 16,332,327 shares at
December 31, 2011
Additional paid in capital                 4,801             4,715
Retained earnings                          46,753            32,695
Treasury stock, at cost (2,129,497 common
shares at December 31, 2012 and            (17,232)          (17,354)
2,145,085common shares December 31, 2011)
Accumulated other comprehensive income     5,063             (5,446)
(loss)
Total stockholders' equity                 160,691           135,916
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 1,629,765       $ 1,432,738
                                                              

CENTER BANCORP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(Unaudited)
                                                                     
                                   Three Months Ended    Twelve Months Ended
                                   December 31,          December 31,
(in thousands, except for share    2012       2011       2012       2011
and per share data)
                                                                     
Interest income                                                      
Interest and fees on loans         $ 10,083   $ 9,197    $ 38,921   $ 36,320
Interest and dividends on                                            
investment securities:
Taxable                            3,022      3,199      12,269     13,278
Tax-exempt                         1,016      717        3,507      1,700
Dividends                          141        150        567        629
Interest on federal funds sold and 1          —          8          —
other short-term investment
Total interest income              14,263     13,263     55,272     51,927
Interest expense                                                     
Interest on certificates of        202        270        839        1,215
deposit $100 or more
Interest on other deposits         1,163      1,172      4,569      4,305
Interest on borrowings             1,476      1,659      6,368      6,657
Total interest expense             2,841      3,101      11,776     12,177
Net interest income                11,422     10,162     43,496     39,750
Provision for loan losses          100        300        325        2,448
Net interest income after          11,322     9,862      43,171     37,302
provision for loan losses
Other income                                                         
Service charges, commissions and   449        481        1,775      1,896
fees
Annuities and insurance            67         29         204        110
commissions
Bank-owned life insurance          282        258        1,018      1,038
Loan related fees                  220        149        510        432
Net gains on sale of loans held    170        99         484        251
for sale
Bargain gain on acquisition        —          —          899        —
Other                              29         33         308        117
Other-than-temporary impairment    (538)      (39)       (870)      (342)
losses on investment securities
Net other-than-temporary
impairment losses on investment    (538)      (39)       (870)      (342)
securities
Net gains on sale of investment    337        856        2,882      3,976
securities
Net investment securities gains    (201)      817        2,012      3,634
(losses)
Total other income                 1,016      1,866      7,210      7,478
Other expense                                                        
Salaries and employee benefits     3,205      2,909      12,571     11,527
Occupancy and equipment            942        701        2,987      2,947
FDIC insurance                     293        328        1,154      1,712
Professional and consulting        260        351        1,077      1,156
Stationery and printing            100        95         349        368
Marketing and advertising          35         15         186        131
Computer expense                   338        323        1,419      1,312
Other real estate owned, net       1          399        150        398
Repurchase agreement prepayment    —          —          1,012      —
and termination fee
Acquisition cost                   10         —          482        —
Other                              1,009      1,101      3,810      3,892
Total other expense                6,193      6,222      25,197     23,443
Income before income tax expense   6,145      5,506      25,184     21,337
Income tax expense                 1,676      1,884      7,677      7,411
Net Income                         4,469      3,622      17,507     13,926
Preferred stock dividends and      28         384        281        820
accretion
Net income available to common     $ 4,441    $ 3,238    $ 17,226   $ 13,106
stockholders
Earnings per common share                                            
Basic                              $ 0.27     $ 0.20     $ 1.05     $ 0.80
Diluted                            $ 0.27     $ 0.20     $ 1.05     $ 0.80
Weighted Average Common Shares                                       
Outstanding
Basic                              16,347,564 16,311,193 16,340,197 16,295,761
Diluted                            16,363,698 16,327,990 16,351,046 16,314,899
                                                                     

CENTER BANCORP, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
SELECTED QUARTERLY FINANCIAL AND STATISTICAL DATA
(Unaudited)
                                               
                                              Three Months Ended
(in thousands, except for share and per share 12/31/2012 9/30/2012  12/31/2011
data) (annualized where applicable) 
Statements of Income Data                                            
                                                                     
Interest income                               $ 14,263   $ 14,118   $ 13,263
Interest expense                              2,841      2,935      3,101
Net interest income                           11,422     11,183     10,162
Provision for loan losses                     100        225        300
Net interest income after provision for loan  11,322     10,958     9,862
losses
Other income                                  1,016      2,635      1,866
Other expense                                 6,193      7,507      6,222
Income before income tax expense              6,145      6,086      5,506
Income tax expense                            1,676      1,632      1,884
Net income                                    $ 4,469    $ 4,454     $  3,622
Net income available to common stockholders   $ 4,441    $ 4,426    $ 3,238
Earnings per Common Share                                            
Basic                                         $ 0.27     $ 0.27     $ 0.20
Diluted                                       $ 0.27     $ 0.27     $ 0.20
Statements of Condition Data (Period-End)                            
Investment securities:                                               
Available for sale                            $ 496,815  $ 509,605  $ 414,507
Held for maturity( fair value $62,431,         58,064      56,503   72,233
$60,946 and $74,922)
Loans held for sale, at lower of cost or fair 1,491      1,055      1,018
value
Loans                                         889,672    869,998    754,992
Total assets                                  1,629,765  1,612,079  1,432,738
Deposits                                      1,306,922  1,293,013  1,121,415
Borrowings                                    151,155    151,205    166,155
Stockholders' equity                          160,691    157,185    135,916
Common Shares Dividend Data                                          
Cash dividends                                $ 899      $ 899      $ 489
Cash dividends per share                      $ 0.055    $ 0.055    $ 0.030
Dividend payout ratio                         20.24%     20.31%     15.10%
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding                           
Basic                                         16,347,564 16,347,088 16,311,193
Diluted                                       16,363,698 16,362,635 16,327,990
Operating Ratios                                                     
Return on average assets                      1.11%      1.13%      1.03%
Return on average equity                      11.17%     11.67%     10.72%
Return on average tangible equity             12.49%     13.12%     12.25%
Average equity / average assets               9.93%      9.66%      9.58%
Book value per common share (period-end)      $ 9.14     $ 8.93     $ 7.63
Tangible book value per common share          $ 8.11     $ 7.90     $ 6.60
(period-end)
Non-Financial Information (Period-End)                               
Common stockholders of record                 551        554         563
Full-time equivalent staff                    178        174         163

CONTACT: Investor Inquiries:
         Joseph D. Gangemi
         VP, Investor Relations
         (908) 206-2863
        
         France Delle Donne
         VP, Director of
         Communications & PR
         (908) 206-2668
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