1st National presents case for switch to state charter It could save $600,000 in federal banking fees, top Md. regulator is bTC told

Banking

December 11, 1998|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Attorneys representing First National Bank of Maryland urged the state's top banking regulator yesterday to approve its application to become a state-chartered bank.

In a public hearing, Gregory K. Thoreson, First National's general counsel, told Maryland Banking Commissioner H. Robert Hergenroeder that the bank would be better served if its books and operations are monitored by state regulators, rather than its current regulator, the federal Comptroller of the Currency.

Thoreson said the state regulators better understand the local business climate, the state's economy and First National's market. He also argued that the bank would operate more efficiently with a state charter, and he estimated that the bank could save $600,000 a year in regulatory fees.

The conversion would allow First National's parent company, First Maryland Bancorp, to fold all its banks under a single name and corporate umbrella. In addition to First National, First Maryland operates York Bank & Trust Co., First Omni Bank and Dauphin Deposit Bank & Trust Co.

A conversion would also make First National the largest state-chartered bank in Maryland. Its parent has $17.3 billion in assets, which is almost as large as the combined assets of the 66 banks the department regulates.

During the hearing, one person protested First National's application.

Hergenroeder would not say when a decision will be made, but it could take up to six months.

"It will not be a prolonged process," he said.

Pub Date: 12/11/98

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