Harbor Bankshares out from under regulatory enforcement orders

The Federal Reserve Board announced Thursday that it terminated an enforcement action against Baltimore-based Harbor Bankshares Corp.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond issued the action in July 2010, reaching an agreement with the holding company to take steps to shore up its finances. The company, parent of The Harbor Bank of Maryland, agreed to comply with consent orders from other regulators as well as not to pay dividends, take on more debt or redeem shares without the approval of the Federal Reserve Bank first.

Enforcement orders from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Maryland's Department of Financial Regulation were lifted in February.

"We've always been a well-run bank and very conservative," said Joseph Haskins Jr., chairman and CEO of both Harbor Bankshares and Harbor Bank.

The bank's difficulties stemmed from the recession, which left the institution holding soured commercial real estate loans, Haskins said. As part of its agreement with regulators, the bank boosted capital, set aside more money in reserve for potential losses and reduced its exposure to commercial real estate loans, he said.

Harbor Bank had nearly $248 million in assets at the end of last year, up about $8.5 million from the year before, according to the FDIC.

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