UNION, N.J., Jan. 31, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Center Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq:CNBC), the parent company for Union Center National Bank ("UCNB" or the "Bank"), announced today that at their December 2010 board meetings, the Boards of Directors of Center Bancorp and UCNB appointed Raymond Vanaria to the newly created position of Vice-Chairman of the Board of both entities.

Mr. Vanaria has served on the Boards of Center Bancorp and UCNB since May 2007 and also serves as Chairman of the Audit and Compliance Committees.

Ray Vanaria is a CPA and partner with Malesardi, Quackenbush, Swift & Co. LLC. He joined that firm in 1983, after spending several years with Price Waterhouse as a staff accountant.  In 1989, Mr. Vanaria was admitted to the partnership.  Mr. Vanaria holds a Masters of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Alexander A. Bol, Chairman of the Board, indicated that, "In his tenure with Center, Raymond Vanaria has been an indispensable member of the board and will serve in his new role with the goal of providing back-up and support in the event that the Chairman is unable to perform specific responsibilities."

In a separate announcement on January 27, 2010 Alan Straus was named to the Investment Committee, ALCO Committee, Nominating Committee and Executive Committee of the Boards of Directors of the Company and the Bank. As well as Phyllis Klein being named to the Audit Committee and Compliance Committee of the Boards of Directors of the Company and the Bank.

Center is also pleased to announce the promotions of UCNB Officers, Joseph D. Gangemi to Vice President and Assistant Portfolio Manager in addition to his other responsibilities, Filomena Darocha to Assistant Vice President of our Summit Banking Center and Jose Solorzano to Assistant Vice President and Collections Officer.

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.