First Mariner posts gain of nearly 60%

Earnings, assets climbed in second quarter

board declares 2-cent dividend

July 21, 1999|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

First Mariner Bancorp, the Baltimore parent of First Mariner Bank, reported yesterday a nearly 60 percent increase in second-quarter net income and assets.

First Mariner said it earned $241,619, or 8 cents a share, for the quarter that ended June 30, up from $153,595, or 5 cents a share, for the same period last year. Assets increased to $563.1 million from $353.0 million.

The banking company also said its board of directors declared a cash dividend of 2 cents a common share payable Aug. 31 to shareholders of record on Aug. 17.

"We had been looking for the bank to start to slow down its bank expansion to build profitability," said Collyn Bement, an analyst who follows the bank for Ferris Baker Watts in Baltimore. "There is evidence of that this quarter."

Partly a reflection of its increased emphasis on consumer lending, the company's total loans as of June 30 were $300.7 million, 64 percent more than the $183.8 million in loans for the year-earlier period, bank officials said. Net interest income rose 58.7 percent to $4.4 million.

Deposits were up 47 percent to $327 million, reflecting expansion of the company's retail banking network to 24 branches and the success of its advertising campaigns, bank officials said.

"The success of our marketing campaign has exceeded our expectations in both deposit growth and account openings," Edwin F. Hale Sr., First Mariner's chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

"It again demonstrates the acceptance that exists for an innovative, locally owned and managed financial institution in our marketplace," he said.

"Banks take marketing for granted, First Mariner doesn't," said Bement, the analyst. "There's a lot to be said for an aggressive advertising campaign."

For the first half of the year, First Mariner made $443,156, or 14 cents a share, up from $304,937, or 10 cents a share, in the corresponding period a year earlier. The company's net income last year reflected no income tax expense because of net operating losses carried forward.

Shares of First Mariner closed yesterday at $10.50, down 50 cents.

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