Kearny Financial, the holding company for Kearny Federal Savings Bank and Central Jersey Bancorp, the holding company for Central Jersey Bank, have executed a definitive merger agreement which provides for the acquisition of Central Jersey by Kearny in an all cash transaction valued at $7.50 per share and an aggregate deal value of approximately $72.3m.

The transaction will add 13 retail branches in Monmouth and Ocean Counties to Kearny’s existing 27 branch network.

The Central Jersey offices will be operated under the name ‘Central Jersey Bank, a Division of Kearny Federal Savings Bank.’ Kearny will establish a Central Jersey Bank advisory board.

John Hopkins, CEO of Kearny, said: “The combination will accomplish several strategic goals by: enhancing our community banking expertise, expanding our franchise in two highly attractive counties, increasing earnings and deploying our capital.”

James Vaccaro, chairman, president and CEO of Central Jersey, said: “We are pleased and proud to be joining an organization that shares our customer service philosophy and commitment to the community. This transaction represents excellent value for our shareholders.”

The definitive merger agreement is subject to approval by Central Jersey’s shareholders and applicable banking regulatory authorities. It is anticipated that the merger will close in the fourth calendar quarter of 2010.