Center Bancorp Inc. of Union, N.J., said Wednesday that it plans to cut 10% of its staff and that it expects the move to save it more than $1 million a year in salary and benefits costs.

The $1 billion-asset company said it would take a pretax charge of about $140,000 this quarter for the termination expenses.

Center, which reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.3 million, has been criticized by the activist shareholder Lawrence B. Seidman for "out of control" expenses. Its efficiency ratio was 94% last quarter, up from 67% a year earlier.

It said it would make the staff cuts - which would reduce noninterest expenses by 9% - through attrition, layoffs, and voluntary resignations.

Center had 214 full-time employees at Dec. 31.

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