SOURCE: Center Bancorp, Inc.

March 07, 2007 13:28 ET

Center Bancorp, Inc. to Reduce Non-Interest Expenses by 9 Percent

Actions Expected to Improve Profitability and Enhance Returns

UNION, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 7, 2007 -- Center Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNBC), parent company of Union Center National Bank of Union, New Jersey, announced today initiatives that are expected to lower non-interest expenses by approximately 9%. The Company stated that it will reduce its overall staffing level by about 10% through attrition, layoffs and voluntary resignations, and anticipates taking a one-time, pre-tax charge of approximately $140,000 in the first quarter of 2007 related to termination benefits. Center Bancorp said that it expects these initiatives to reduce salary and benefit expenses by $1.1 million annually and expects to reach that annualized run rate of savings by the end of the first quarter of 2008.

"While these types of decisions are always very difficult, it was imperative that we take steps to lower costs, increase efficiency, improve profitability and increase returns for our shareholders," said John J. Davis, Center Bancorp's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Lowering expenses is a key strategic priority for Center Bancorp. As we continue our ongoing internal review and assessment of operations, we hope to take additional steps during the balance of 2007 to reduce the level of overhead even further and to increase revenue."

About Center Bancorp

Center Bancorp, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary, Union Center National Bank, Union, New Jersey, currently operates fourteen banking locations. Banking centers are located in Union Township (6 locations), Berkeley Heights, Boonton/Mountain Lakes, Madison, Millburn/Vauxhall, Morristown (3 locations), Springfield, and Summit, New Jersey. The Bank also operates remote ATM locations in the Union and Chatham New Jersey Transit train station, Union Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club of Union. The Bank recently received approvals to install and operate one additional off-premise ATM location in the Madison New Jersey Transit Station, which is scheduled to be operational in 2007.

Union Center National Bank is the largest commercial bank headquartered in Union County; it was chartered in 1923 and is a full-service banking company.

For further information regarding Center Bancorp, Inc., call 1-(800)-862-3683. For information regarding Union Center National Bank, visit our web site at

Forward-Looking Statements

All non-historical statements in this press release (including statements regarding the extent to which non-interest expense will be reduced, the ultimate effect of the initiatives announced in this press release, the amount of a one-time, pre-tax charge related to termination benefits, the time when particular savings will be achieved and steps which may be taken during the balance of 2007 to reduce the level of overhead and to increase revenue) constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements may use such forward-looking terminology 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 ultimate timing for the implementation of the initiatives described herein, the responses both by the employees directly involved in such initiatives and those not directly involved, and other risks cited in 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 Information

  • Investor Inquiries
    Anthony C. Weagley
    Vice President and Treasurer
    Center Bancorp
    (908) 206-2886

    Media Inquiries:
    Mike Pascale
    Tom Johnson
    Abernathy MacGregor
    (212) 371-5999