Earnings at state-chartered banks fall. Total earnings of 78 banks in first-quarter drop by 56.4%.


Hurt by large losses at a few major banks, earnings at Maryland's 78 state-chartered banks dropped by more than half during the first quarter.

The office of the state bank commissioner has reported that state-chartered banks had total earnings of $26.6 million in the first quarter, a 56.4 percent drop from the $61 million earned during the 1990 first quarter.

K? The figures did not include the first-quarter net income of

banks with national charters, such as Maryland National Bank or First National Bank of Maryland, the two largest banks in the state. Dean Debuck, a spokesman for the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said that information has not yet been compiled.

Bank Commissioner Margie H. Muller attributed much of the losses to souring real estate loans at major banks. She said she is not disappointed with the results at the smaller banks. "They are healthy and they are making money," Muller said about most of the banks.

Of the 78 banks, 12 banks had losses totaling $16.9 million. Excluding the banks with losses, net income for the rest of the state's 66 banks dropped only 8 percent, going from $47.3 million to $43.5 million.


This small drop can be attributed primarily to banks low

ering their prime rate, which cuts into their profits, according to Arnold G. Danielson of Danielson Associates of Rockville, a banking consulting firm. He said small banks have been spared the trauma of the failing commercial real estate market.

The big money-losers in the first quarter were Signet Bank/Maryland, which lost $5.9 million, and Sovran Bank/Maryland, with a loss of $6 million. The Signet bank is part of Signet Banking Corp., based in Richmond, Va., and Sovran is a subsidiary of C&S;/Sovran Corp., which has headquarters in Norfolk, Va., and Atlanta.

Adding to the red ink was a $2.5 million loss at the Washington Bank of Maryland and a $1.6 million loss at Madison Bank of Maryland. Both have been taken over by federal regulators.

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