ConnectOne Bancorp (CNOB) and Center Bancorp (CNBC) in New Jersey, to adapt a line from native son Bruce Springsteen, were born to run… together.

The banks announced a merger-like deal Tuesday: the $1.7 billion-asset Center legally speaking is the acquirer and will own 54% of the combined company, but Frank Sorrentino 3rd, the leader of the $1.24 billion-asset ConnectOne, will be chairman and chief executive of the combined company, which will be called ConnectOne.

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