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Center Bancorp, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter 2010 Earnings

UNION, N.J., Jan. 28, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Center Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNBC) (the "Corporation", or "Center"), parent company of Union Center National Bank ("UCNB"), today reported operating results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2010. Net income available to common stockholders amounted to $2.4 million, or $0.15 per fully diluted common share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2010, as compared with net income available to common stockholders of $94,000, or $0.01 per fully diluted common share, for the quarter ended December 31, 2009.

Highlights for the quarter include:
  • Net interest income increased to $8.4 million, compared to $8.0 million for the fourth quarter 2009. Net interest margin on a fully taxable equivalent basis increased 13 basis points to 3.18%, compared to 3.05% for the fourth quarter of 2009, primarily the result of lower interest rates on the deposits mix and lower rates and volume on borrowings.  
  • Deposits increased to $860.3 million at December 31, 2010, or 2.8%, from $836.9 million at September 30, 2010 and increased $46.6 million from the balance reported at December 31, 2009. The growth in the current quarter was primarily in noninterest-bearing checking deposits, savings and money market deposit accounts.  
  • At December 31, 2010, total loans amounted to $708.4 million, an increase of $6.5 million, compared to total loans at September 30, 2010. The increase occurred primarily in the real estate loan portfolio.  
  • Overall credit quality in the loan portfolio remained strong during the quarter. Non-performing assets, consisting of non-accrual loans, accruing loans past due 90 days or more and other real estate owned ("OREO"), amounted to 0.98% of total assets at December 31, 2010, compared to 1.12% at September 30, 2010 and 0.94% at December 31, 2009. In October 2010, the Corporation disposed of $1.8 million in OREO property and recorded a loss of approximately $185,000. Excluding this item from total non-performing assets reported at September 30, 2010, non-performing assets as a percent of total assets would have been 0.97% at September 30, 2010. At December 31, 2010, the allowance for loan losses amounted to approximately $8.9 million, or 1.25% of total loans. The allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total non-performing loans was 74.6% at December 31, 2010 compared to 74.7% at September 30, 2010 and 77.2% at December 31, 2009.  
  • The Corporation added $11.4 million to its capital base as a result of its successful common stock offerings in September 2010. The Tier 1 leverage capital ratio of 9.90% at December 31, 2010, compared to 9.60% at September 30, 2010, and 7.73% at December 31, 2009, exceeding regulatory guidelines.  
  • Book value per common share was $6.83 at December 31, 2010, compared to $6.90 at September 30, 2010 and $6.32 at December 31, 2009. Tangible book value per common share was $5.79 at December 31, 2010, compared to $5.86 at September 30, 2010 and $5.15 at December 31, 2009.

"We are pleased with the performance achieved for the quarter and are on track with our goal of having earning-asset growth to fuel continued margin expansion through top line revenue growth. The Corporation expects to build its outstanding loan volume in 2011. Our pipelines are strong, and we expect that increased activity in the commercial sectors of the portfolio will support our strategic goals of increasing our loan volume and improving our earning asset mix," said Anthony C. Weagley, President & CEO.

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