Profits up at 1st Mariner, Columbia Bancorp

Gains from service fees, loans get part of credit

October 16, 2002|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

Despite a slow-growing economy, two local banks - Columbia Bancorp and First Mariner Bancorp - said yesterday that their third-quarter profits increased, driven in part by gains from loans and service fees.

Columbia, the parent of Columbia Bank, made $2.7 million, or 38 cents per diluted share, in the quarter that ended Sept. 30, 34.2 percent more than in the comparable period a year earlier.

Profit in the first nine months was $7.4 million, or $1.02 a diluted share, 20.4 percent more than in the comparable period last year.

"Just good basic blocking and tackling," said John M. Bond, president and chief executive of Columbia Bancorp.

Bond said the bank has kept expenses low while building its loan portfolio.

Loans grew 15.3 percent to $664.7 million in the nine-month period, driven by strong growth in real estate development, construction loans and commercial loans.

"We have seen a lot of good origination activity out there," Bond said. "We have been out calling on companies for years and years. In our marketplace we are a known player."

Columbia's assets grew to a record $990.9 million, 20.1 percent more than in last year's quarter. Deposits rose 15.2 percent to $727.4 million.

Its nonperforming assets - generally loans that are late 90 days on interest or principal - fell 76.2 percent in the nine-month period to $1.4 million. They account for 0.14 percent of the bank's total assets.

Shares of Columbia rose 55 cents, or 2.96 percent, to close at $19.15.

First Mariner said its profits soared 52 percent to $1 million in the quarter, or 18 cents per diluted share, the same as in last year's quarter.

In the first nine months of the year, the company made $2.8 million, or 49 cents per diluted share, 89 percent more than in the corresponding period last year.

"The fact that we hit $1 million for the first time in profits ... it was great, better than we expected," said Edwin F. Hale Sr., First Mariner's chairman and chief executive. "We think there is going to be a continuation."

Hale said the bank's loan portfolio has been growing briskly.

First Mariner's total loans were up 10 percent to $515.7 million in the first nine months of the year. Mortgage loan volume surged as many homeowners took advantage of low interest rates and bought houses. Mortgage loans rose 17 percent in the quarter to $250 million and by 7.5 percent to $649 million in the first nine months of the year.

First Mariner's assets rose 18 percent to $854.3 million, and deposits were up 18 percent to $649 million.

Its nonperforming assets dipped 21 percent in the nine-month period to $2.9 million. Non-performing assets amount to 0.34 percent of First Mariner's total assets.

Shares of First Mariner rose 40 cents to close at $10.80.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.