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

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 8^th 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
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 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

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