UNION, N.J., Dec. 13, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Center Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNBC), the parent company for Union Center National Bank ("UCNB"), today announced that for the fourth quarter of 2010, it intends to establish an additional loan loss provision of approximately $1.4 million pretax, on various non-performing assets. In addition, the Corporation expects to record the remaining $1.4 million unrecognized income tax benefit related to a previously disclosed internal entity structure realignment and liquidation of subsidiary companies, commenced in the fourth quarter of 2006. The total allowance for loan losses as a percentage of total loans should remain consistent at 1.25% at December 31, 2010.

Anthony Weagley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Center Bancorp, Inc., stated: "In prior press releases and quarterly filings, we have underscored our asset quality and discussed our aggressive efforts to address credit quality issues in this stressed economic environment. We have recently sold our remaining Other Real Estate Owned (OREO) property, bringing the balance to $0.00."

The Corporation continues to experience a pick-up in loan demand and is experiencing stable asset quality throughout its loan portfolio. Total loans are expected to amount to approximately $705.0 million at December 31, 2010.

Mr. Weagley indicated that "our earnings estimate for the fourth quarter of 2010, inclusive of the above noted actions, is $0.14 - $0.16 per fully diluted common share."

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 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.