Income edged up at Mercantile in third quarter HD: Increase called 'very impressive'

October 12, 1990|By Peter H. Frank

Mercantile Bankshares Inc., showing only limited signs of weakness in its real estate portfolio, said yesterday that its income rose slightly during the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago.

The company, which owns Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co. in Baltimore and 17 other community banks, said it earned $15.9 million, or 57 cents a share, for the three months that ended Sept. 30. That compared with income of $15.8 million, or 57 cents a share, during the same period last year.

Mercantile's stock, traded on NASDAQ, closed yesterday at $14.25, down 50 cents.

The company increased the amount it set aside to cover possible loan losses by 104 percent, to $4.45 million from $2.18 million last year.

Despite the meager increase in earnings, analysts said the results were particularly encouraging when put beside those most other large banking companies have reported or are expected to report in coming weeks.

Unlike many of its competitors, Mercantile has weathered the current slump in the real estate industry without the kinds of related loan losses being suffered at many other institutions.

"This is increasingly both rare and welcome," said Lacy M. Shockley, a banking analyst with Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. in New York.

"It's very impressive that they could get through a period like this and still legitimately have earnings growth and keep the non-performing asset level" below 1 percent of total loans, she said.

Mercantile said that its non-performing loans were 0.83 percent of total loans, compared with 0.71 percent a year ago.

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