Center Bancorp Inc. in Union, N.J., said it will not launch a planned common stock sale "in light of current market volatility," according to a press release Tuesday.

The $1.2 billion-asset parent of Union Center National Bank said it was considering selling common stock off the shelf after its registration became effective May 5 but now said this was not the right time.

In March, it filed a shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell up to $50 million of securities from time to time.

Center would not comment Wednesday on the decision.

The company had raised $11 million in capital through a common stock rights offering in October.

Banks are reconsidering secondary stock offerings because they can be dilutive, said Tony Plath, a finance professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Plath said a good reason to consider an offering now is to raise capital to buffer further asset deterioration.

"It is better to do it while they are still well capitalized," he said.

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