Major Maryland banks have lowered their prime rates from 9.5 percent to 9 percent.
They include Maryland National Bank, First National Bank of Maryland, Signet Bank, Sovran Bank, the Bank of Baltimore and Provident Bank of Maryland.
The prime rate, which is supposed to be the interest rate charged by banks to their best corporate customers, is an important benchmark. Banks in New York and Chicago led the move to lower the prime on Friday.
Many home-equity loans and some credit card rates are directly tied to the prime rate, with the interest rates pegged at one or more points above the prime. These rates are adjusted every month or every three months.
The prime also affects the rates that savers receive on their money market accounts and certificates of deposit.