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First Maryland Bancorp buys thrift's deposits Vermont Federal employees to stay


First Maryland Bancorp continued its acquisitive ways yesterday when its banking unit purchased the $163 million in deposits of the failed Vermont Federal Savings Association F.A.

First National Bank of Maryland, which is owned by First Maryland, said all 16 branches of the Timonium-based thrift will be closed today but will resume regular hours beginning Monday.

Deposits in the 31,900 accounts will continue to be federally insured up to the $100,000 level, and the transaction provided for the transfer of all deposits above that amount also.

Though First Maryland took control yesterday of the most visible portion of Vermont Federal's business, it acquired only about one-third of the thrift's $146.1 million in assets, made up primarily of outstanding loans and property. (Deposits are considered liabilities, not assets, on a bank's books because the money is owed to customers.)

Resolution Trust Corp., the federal agency in charge of disposing of the nation's troubled thrifts, will retain the remainder of the thrift's assets. The transaction will cost the federal agency about $64.4 million, it said.

For First Maryland, yesterday's purchase was its second major expansion effort in slightly more than a week.

The banking company, with $7.8 billion in assets and 4,200 employees, agreed last week to buy York Bank and Trust Co. in York, Pa., for about $130 million in cash.

York Bank and Trust, a subsidiary of Midlantic Corp. in New Jersey, had $1.5 billion in assets and 22 branches as of March 31. The purchase awaits final regulatory approval, First Maryland said.

Craig A. Francis Jr., who managed the sale for Resolution Trust, said First National had not decided which branches of Vermont Federal it would ultimately keep but that it had about 90 days to decide whether to buy or lease the properties.

All employees at the thrift will be retained by First National "for the immediate future," Mr. Francis said.

A spokesman for the bank, William Frank, said no decision had been made on the future of the branches or employees.

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