First Mariner swung to loss in 2013

First Mariner Bancorp's losses mounted last year before the parent of 1st Mariner Bank filed for bankruptcy protection in February.

The bank itself is not included in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and its Baltimore-based parent has stressed that bank deposits, contracts and other business will not be affected. However, the bank will be auctioned off as part of the bankruptcy reorganization.

First Mariner lost $19.1 million in 2013, a big swing from the $16.1 million profit it earned in 2012, as its vibrant mortgage origination business dwindled as interest rates rose last year, according to its annual 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Rising rates eroded both the company's interest income and non-interest income.

The loss also reduced the critical capital levels the company was ordered to increase in 2009 by banking regulators. It also made it impossible to pay off $52.1 million in trust preferred securities due in December, resulting in a default on that debt.

The company's total assets fell to just under $1.02 billion at the end of 2013, from $1.38 billion a year earlier as deposits and loans both dropped. On a positive note, its asset quality improved as non-performing assets, including past due loans and foreclosed real estate, declined to $36.1 million at year's end.

Bids for 1st Mariner Bank are due in bankruptcy court on April 7. The auction will be held three days later. A stalking horse bidder, led by New York-based Priam Capital has offered buy the bank for $4.8 million and infuse 1st Mariner with $85 million to $100 million in fresh capital.

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