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Things looking brighter for state-chartered banks Combined income up by 45 percent in the second quarter.


The combined net income for state-chartered banks in Maryland increased by 45.1 percent during the second quarter, according to statistics released by the state bank

commissioner's office.

The 74 commercial banks, one mutual savings bank and one trust company had income of $47.3 million compared to $32.6 million for the 1990 second quarter.

"I'm hopeful this is a sign of improved earnings," said Bank Commissioner Margie H. Muller. But she was reluctant to say the figures signal an end to banking problems in the state. "The problem is the economy is so unpredictable," she said.

The first quarter had been a poor one for state-chartered banks with income dropping 57 percent. For the first six months of the year, the state-chartered banks earned $73.8 million, or 21.1 percent less than the $93.5 million earned in the first half of 1990.

The figures did not include the 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. That information, which is collected by the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, is released at a later date.

Of the 74 banks, 10 showed losses for the first six months. The largest losses were suffered by Signet Bank/Maryland, which lost $7 million in the first half, and Sovran Bank/Maryland, which had $5.6 million in losses during the six-month period.

Both Signet and Sovran improved their results in the second quarter with Sovran making a profit of $362,000 and Signet cutting its loss to $1 million.

Signet Bank/Maryland 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. Like other large regional banking companies, the two banks have primarily suffered from a sour real estate market.

The big money makers during the first six months were Mercantile-Safe Deposit & Trust Co. of Baltimore, with $14.4 million in income; Citizens Bank of Maryland, based in Laurel, which made $13.2 million, and the Bank of Baltimore, which had an income of $9.9 million.

Since June 30, 1990, the number of state-chartered commercial banks has fallen from 80 to 74. Four of the banks that were eliminated were part of the Bank Maryland Corp. bank holding company, which consolidated its five banks into one bank -- Bank of Maryland. Another bank, the Washington Bank of Maryland, was taken over by government regulators after it became insolvent. The Madison Bank of Maryland was absorbed into its sister bank in Washington, which was then seized by federal regulators.

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