First Mariner owners OK stock financing deal

March 20, 2010

Shareholders of First Mariner Bancorp approved a measure Friday that allows its chairman and several other executives to exchange $26 million worth of debt for $2.6 million in stock in a move that bank officials say will help put the bank on firmer financial footing. Edwin F. Hale Sr., the Baltimore-based bank's chairman and chief executive, is buying $20 million of trust-preferred securities and exchanging them for $2 million in common stock and warrants to buy additional stock. Fifteen other executives are acquiring $6 million worth of debt and exchanging them for a combined $600,000 worth of stock. The exchange is the latest financial maneuver that the bank completed in an effort to shore up its finances. The bank posted a $22 million loss last year and has had to contend with $57 million in bad loans it sustained when the financial markets collapsed last year.

- Gus G. Sentementes

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