First Mariner lays profit dip to climbing rates, expenses


First Mariner Bancorp., which has grown swiftly since it was founded five years ago, said yesterday that second-quarter profit fell 21.9 percent because of higher interest rates and expenses.

The Baltimore banking company made $189,000 in the second quarter that ended June 30, or 6 cents per diluted share, compared with $242,000, or 7 cents per diluted share, in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Profit in the first half of the year fell 45.8 percent to $240,000, or 8 cents per diluted share, compared with $443,000, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the first half of last year.

"We did see some of the effect of interest-rate changes in the earnings," said Mark Keidel, treasurer at First Mariner Bancorp. "Overall, we continue to see good growth in the core of the business."

First Mariner's net interest income, or profit generated mainly from loans, rose 14.2 percent to $5 million in the quarter. Income from mortgage loan sales and deposit fees jumped 36.1 percent to $2.2 million.

Assets rose 19.2 percent to $671 million at quarter's end, while deposits were up 32.7 percent to $434 million and loans rose 27.3 percent to $382.8 million. Expenses also were up 22.9 percent in the quarter to $6.7 million.

First Mariner has 24 branches from Baltimore to Ocean City, with two more offices planned in the third quarter. Shares of First Mariner closed at $5 yesterday, down 18.75 cents.

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