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First Mariner reports lower 3Q loss of $4.6M

1st Mariner Bancorp, parent company of First Mariner Bank, reported a net loss of $4.6 million in the third quarter, a decline from the $12.9 million loss recorded in the same quarter last year.

The bank had total revenue of $19.3 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, which was a 37 percent increase from the same period in 2009. To date, the bank has seen total revenue of $45 million, up slightly from $43.8 million at the same point last year.

1st Mariner Chairman and CEO Edwin F. Hale Sr. said the bank saw the number of delinquent loans decrease in the quarter. He said loans one to three months behind were down 43 percent from the year before. And, he said, loans more than three months behind were down 75 percent compared with 2009.

“Despite these positive signs, we continue to operate in a challenging economic environment and we must continue to be proactive in dealing with our problem loans,” Hale said in a statement. “We have written down certain assets and recorded additional provisions to our allowance for loan losses, both of which contributed significantly to our loss for the quarter.”

While delinquencies were down, the bank did increase its money set aside for bad loans to $9.8 million for the third quarter of 2010, an increase of 364 percent over the $2.1 million set aside in the same quarter last year. Net charge-offs increased $4 million, or 156 percent, to $6.6 million for the third quarter, up from $2.6 million in the third quarter of 2009.

First Mariner also saw its total assets decline during the quarter. The bank had total assets of $1.3 billion at the end of the quarter compared with $1.4 billion the year before.

But the amount of deposits increased 3 percent during the quarter due largely to an uptick in the number of certificates of deposit.

The bank is still attempting to meet the terms of an order issued last fall by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Maryland Division of Financial Regulation. The agencies gave the bank until June 30 to increase its capital levels and have not since commented on the passage of the deadline.

First Mariner had hoped to raise $20 million in a stock offering to shareholders and the public in the spring, but netted just $10.9 million. First Mariner has made other moves to improve the bank’s capital levels, including the sale of its consumer finance business, Mariner Finance.

“Our capital ratios at the end of the third quarter are higher than they were a year ago and continue to exceed levels to be adequately capitalized by the regulatory standards.” Hale said. “We are focused on improving the company’s capital situation and are evaluating all options available to the company and the bank to increase our capital ratios so that they meet or exceed the higher regulatory requirements.”

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