An investor in Center Bancorp of Union, N.J., is seeing "green" after learning that the commercial bank paid a substantial premium for a large block of its own stock in a private transaction.

In a quarterly report the $534 million-asset bank said that on July 24 it purchased 117,246 shares, or about 3% of its common stock, in a negotiated deal. The price of $2.9 million, or about $25 a share - was nearly 50% above $16.75 the stock was trading at that day.

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