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Hale sees Pikesville bank as next Mariner addition


Trucking, shipping and banking executive Edwin F. Hale Sr. has targeted a small Pikesville bank as the next step in building his latest venture, First Mariner Bancorp.

Mr. Hale confirmed this week that he submitted a proposal for Maryland Permanent Bank & Trust, an 88-year-old establishment with a single office and about $32 million in assets, about three weeks ago.

"They have a pretty well-capitalized company that has a significant amount of deposits, and we have a significant loan demand, and we feel we have a match that would work out," Mr. Hale said.

Mr. Hale said he has yet to hear a response from the Maryland Permanent board to his proposal, which involves an undisclosed amount of stock and cash.

"I have really no idea when the offer will be considered," said President and Chief Executive Officer Lewis Messick. "There is a proposal, not an offer, that the board is looking into."

Mr. Messick said Maryland Permanent has been growing lately. Assets are up 27 percent from a year ago, and net income rose almost 28 PHOTOEdwin Hale Sr.percent in the first quarter, to $94,176, from $73,755 a year ago. On April 3 the bank moved to a new location, in the Valley Center shopping center in Owings Mills.

In December, soon after Mr. Hale resigned as chairman of Baltimore Bancorp, he announced plans to buy a controlling stake in a small thrift holding company called MarylandsBank Corp. and turn it into a commercial bank named First Mariner Bancorp.

This month the company got regulatory approval to establish the holding company and change its name to First Mariner. The bank, formed of Farmers Bank FSB and MarylandsBank FSB, consists of four branches and $25 million in assets.

In December the company's officers said they hoped to double the number of branches within a year. Within three years they expected to increase assets to $150 million to $200 million, and to go public.

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