Maryland National Bank, the state's largest bank, grants mortgages to blacks at about the same rate as it does to whites in Baltimore, according to an analysis by the Maryland Alliance for Responsible Investment, a group pressing for bank investments in the city.
The finding released yesterday was in contrast to a recent Federal Reserve study that found that blacks in the Baltimore area were rejected twice as often as whites for bank loans -- 15.6 percent compared with 7.5 percent. For the nation, the Federal Reserve found black applicants for non-government loans were rejected 33.9 percent of the time last year, while whites were rejected at a rate of 14.4 percent.
Maryland National Corp. in 1990 handled 1,132 applications in Baltimore. Of those, 14 percent of the black applications were denied compared with 10 percent of the white applicants.
The company approved 75 percent of the black applications and 73 percent of the white applications in the city, according to the report.
The figures do not total 100 percent because some customers withdrew applications or did not accept loans.
For the entire state, Maryland National approved 74.3 percent of the applications made by blacks and 74 percent of those made by whites.
"The Maryland National Corp. mortgage-approval data looks very positive," said George Buntin, chairman of the alliance. "We feel that this demonstrates the value of our joint efforts." Buntin also is executive director of the Baltimore chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Maryland National has worked with the alliance for the last five years to promote home ownership in the city. Under a 1987 agreement, Maryland National has created a new community development office to target low- and moderate-income families. The bank also has made small annual grants to non-profit community organizations for housing counseling.
Banks have become more interested in such programs as federal regulators have required them to invest more in low-income areas.