SOURCE: Center Bancorp, Inc.

May 08, 2008 11:24 ET

Center Bancorp, Inc. Announces Wealth Management Services Through American Economic Planning Group, Inc.

UNION, NJ--(Marketwire - May 8, 2008) - Center Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNBC), through its National Bank Subsidiary, Union Center National Bank, ("UCNB") today announced the expansion of its financial services to offer wealth management through American Economic Planning Group, Inc. (AEPG) of Watchung, New Jersey. AEPG is a nationally recognized investment advisory firm and provides comprehensive wealth management services.

The expansion of these services is part of UCNB's new private clients' group service platform, aimed at providing private banking and wealth management services to its client base. These steps underscore UCNB's commitment to the wealth management business, which is one of its key strategic business segments. "We help clients turn today's financial success into tomorrow's financial security," indicated Steven Kaye, President of AEPG.

AEPG has consistently been named one of America's "Top Wealth Managers" by Wealth Manager Magazine, Financial Advisor Magazine and Reuters AdvicePoint. The wealth management market has vast potential in New Jersey as customers are becoming increasingly aware of the need to manage their wealth effectively. Both UCNB and AEPG are excited to bring this first class service platform to its client base.

At present, UCNB holds trust powers and operates Center Financial Group, LLC, which provides financial services, including brokerage services, insurance and annuities and mutual funds. This unit will be merged into the Private Clients Group umbrella, through this new partnership with AEPG as the cornerstone to the service platform. Clients will have access to unparalleled one-stop wealth management services ranging from investment counseling, financial planning, estate planning, pension/401(k) planning, employee benefits and elder care consulting, remittance and trust services to insurance advice.

In addition to providing wealth management services, AEPG will arrange exclusive events on a regular basis for its VIP clients. These events will cover a wide variety of themes across investment topics, including risk management seminars, elder care, estate tax avoidance and various economic topics.

In a joint statement, both company CEOs indicated that this partnership is the first of many steps that they will be taking towards enhancing client relationships and service offerings. "We are confident that we will be able to increase the number of affluent clients by offering comprehensive products and high quality financial services," said Anthony C. Weagley, President and CEO.

About American Economic Planning Group

Many successful people have found that their financial lives have become increasingly complex. Market volatility has raised anxiety levels. Estate planning, insurance and tax issues raise further questions. Individuals and business owners find the demands on their time conflict with their ability to organize and manage their finances.

This is where AEPG can provide invaluable assistance. AEPG has more than 25 years experience, as fiduciaries, helping clients develop and meet their financial goals. According to Steven Kaye, president of AEPG, "Our clients have access to an independent and objective team of elite professionals who provide a wide range of wealth management services. Prior to creating any financial investment and estate plan, our staff spends a significant amount of time learning about the client and issues specific to them, their family and their business. Our extensive fact gathering and modeling program enables us to anticipate and examine many different scenarios, greatly enhancing our client's probability of meeting their objectives."

"At AEPG, our main focus is providing our clients with competent, independent and objective advice. If you desire a well thought out and comprehensive wealth management program, we look forward to developing a relationship with you," Mr. Kaye added.

About Center Bancorp

Center Bancorp, Inc. is a Financial Services Holding Company and 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. UCNB focuses its lending activities on commercial lending to small and medium sized businesses, real estate developers and high net worth individuals.

UCNB, through its subsidiary, Center Financial Group LLC, provides financial services, including brokerage services, insurance and annuities, mutual funds and financial planning. In the fourth quarter of 2007, Center formed a title Insurance partnership, Center Title LLC, with Progressive Title Company in Parsippany to provide title services in connection with the closing of real estate transactions.

UCNB currently operates 13 branches in Union and Morris counties. Banking centers are located in Union Township (6 locations), Berkeley Heights, Boonton/Mountain Lakes, Madison, Millburn/Vauxhall, Morristown, Springfield and Summit, New Jersey. The Bank also operates remote ATM Locations in the Union, Chatham and Madison, New Jersey Transit train stations, Union Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club of Union.

While UCNB's primary market area is comprised of Morris and Union Counties, New Jersey, the Corporation has expanded to northern and central New Jersey. At March 31, 2008, UCNB had total assets of $1.0 billion, total deposits of $623 million and stockholders' equity of approximately $85.4 million.

For further information regarding Center Bancorp, Inc., call 1-800-862-3683. For information regarding Union Center National Bank, visit our web site at http://www.centerbancorp.com.

Contact Information

  • Investor Inquiries:

    Anthony C. Weagley
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    (908) 206-2886

    Joseph Gangemi
    Investor Relations
    (908) 206-2886