Mercantile sets a record for earnings

January 15, 1991|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Evening Sun Staff

Despite problems facing much of the banking industry, Mercantile Bankshares Corp., a Baltimore-based bank holding company, announced record earnings for last year, 4 percent above the previous year.

Net income for the year was $68.9 million, or $2.32 per share, compared to $66.4 million, or $2.26 per share, for 1989. For the fourth quarter, net income rose by 3 percent to $16.9 million, or 57 cents per share, compared to $16.4 million, or 56 cents per share, for the 1989 fourth quarter.

L Figures were adjusted for a two-for-one stock split in 1989.

Mercantile, the parent company of Mercantile-Safe Deposit and Trust Co., is the third largest bank-holding company in the state. Bank analysts rank the company as one of the soundest `D institutions because of its conservative management and consistent profitability.

"I thought it was a pretty good quarter," said John A. Heffern, a banking analyst for Alex. Brown Inc., a Baltimore investment banking firm. He attributed the favorable results to the bank's "conservative management style" that does not stress growth for growth's sake.

However, Mercantile's non-performing loans increased from about $19.7 million, or 0.63 percent of total loans, at the end of 1989 to about $34.5 million, or 1.04 percent of loans at the end of last year.

Heffron said this increase was to be expected in light of the poor economy.

Mercantile has also seen its deposits grow. They totaled $4 billion, 9 percent higher at the end of the year than on Dec. 31, 1989, when deposits were $3.7 billion.

At the end of 1990, Mercantile had total assets of $4.4 billion, a 12 percent increase over 1989 year-end assets of $4 billion.

Mercantile has 19 affiliated banking operations with 140 branches in Maryland, Delaware and the eastern shore of Virginia. In 1990 the company acquired Baltimore Trust Co. of Selbyville, Del., and Farmers & Merchants Bank in Onley, Va.

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