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Health of Md. banks improves slightly


The overall health of Maryland's banks showed a slight improvement in the first quarter of the year, as measured by IDC Financial Inc., a financial rating company based in Wisconsin.

The state's overall rating, with 1 as the worst and 300 the best, rose to 117 in the quarter that ended March 30, from 113 at the end of 1991, according to IDC.

But Maryland remained well below the first-quarter national average of 147. And the aggregate earnings for state banks, a crucial measure of strength, deteriorated.

Return on assets, which measures how profitably a bank employs its assets, fell to negative 0.09 percent in the first quarter, from 0.16 percent in the 1991 fourth quarter. (IDC measures return on assets based on earnings in the previous four quarters, not the most recent quarter alone.) By comparison, the national average for the first quarter was 0.53 percent, according to IDC.

Since the first quarter, however, several banks reported changes that should improve their rankings for the second and third quarters.

Baltimore Bancorp. The parent of the Bank of Baltimore has reported two profitable quarters this year, and has said it expects that trend to continue. In July, the company signed an agreement with federal and state regulators, setting capital targets through the middle of 1993.

Dominion Bankshares Corp. The Washington-based parent of Dominion Bank of Maryland, among others, recently agreed to be acquired by First Union Corp., of Charlotte, N.C., for about $850 million.

MNC Financial Inc. The parent of Maryland National Bank and American Security Bank reported slight profits in the first and second quarters. But most important to MNC was last week's $200 million investment by NationsBank Corp. of Charlotte, N.C. The money was the first stage in what may result in the Baltimore company's acquisition by NationsBank.

FWB Bank. This Rockville institution, with about $44 million in assets last year, has earned $571,600 as of last week, according to President Steven Colliatie, and has raised its capital-to-assets ratio to 6 percent.

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