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1st Mariner Bancorp reports profitable year

1st Mariner Bancorp, the parent of 1st Mariner Bank, continued its climb back to profitability in 2012, reporting net income of $17.0 million for the year ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $30.2 million the previous year.

The bank made money for the fourth quarter in a row. Its net income for the fourth quarter was $1.6 million, compared with a net loss of $4.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2011.

Noting the improvement, 1st Mariner CEO Mark A. Keidel said the results “reflect the year’s robust mortgage banking activities, lower charges relating to problem assets, as well as our operational efficiency initiatives. Importantly, we also increased our level of non-CD deposits.”

Keidel said that in 2012, the bank saw a record $2.5 billion in gross origination volume for residential mortgages, which produced more than $50.5 million in non-interest income. Net charge-offs for the year decreased just under $10 million while the cost of foreclosed properties declined $1.3 million.

Keidel noted that the company consolidated more than 46,000 square feet of office space last year and said the bank would consolidate three branches in 2013.

1st Mariner operates 21 full-service bank branches in Baltimore and six Maryland counties. Its mortgage arm, 1st Mariner Mortgage, has offices in Central Maryland, the Eastern Shore and Northern Virginia.

Keidel also recognized continuing concerns about the bank’s capital ratios.

“Our improved profitability has increased our regulatory capital ratios, but these ratios remain below the levels required by regulatory orders, and we continue to work diligently to increase capital to levels required in our regulatory agreements in the future,” he said.

Net interest income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $9.0 million compared with $7.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2011, 1st Mariner said. The increase was due to higher balances of mortgage loans held for sale. The average balance of residential mortgage loans held for sale was $404.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with $162.7 million for the fourth quarter of 2011.

1st Mariner Bancorp’s stock closed Thursday at 96 cents per share, off 2 cents.

The company listed total assets of $1.38 billion at the end of 2012. Total deposits increased 14.9 percent from $1.01 billion on Dec. 31, 2011, to $1.19 billion at the end of 2012.

1st Mariner’s local profile has been boosted recently by its endorsement deal with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco. The bank opened its digital billboards in Baltimore to fan messages in advance of this week’s Super Bowl.

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