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Howard Bancorp to acquire 1st Mariner Bank

“The community banks, this is their livelihood,” Newcomb said.

Still, the number of Maryland-based banks has dwindled over the past decade. At the end of 2016, there were 58 banks headquartered in Maryland, down from about 90 in 2009, according to the Maryland Bankers Association.

Smaller, community financial institutions have been under pressure since the housing bust and recession to meet increased regulatory requirements and remain competitive.

Unable to recover from soured mortgage loans after the housing bubble burst, 1st Mariner’s parent company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2014. A group of investors bought the bank in an auction later that year and recapitalized it with $110 million.

Since then, 1st Mariner’s new leadership has built the bank’s assets to about $975 million as of the end of June. But the privately held bank reported a loss of $661,000 in the first three months of the year, according to financial documents filed with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Howard Bancorp Completes Acquisition of First Mariner Bank, Progresses on Integration and Relocation

With the transaction finalized, the combined Howard team will immediately begin to implement tactical plans for the successful integration of the former First Mariner’s staff, branches, and systems. The combined organization, which will conduct business under the Howard Bank name, will operate 21 locations in the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan Area. New signage will be installed immediately at all First Mariner branch and mortgage locations to reflect the integrated Howard Bank and the resulting greater presence in the region.

Howard Bancorp, the parent of Howard Bank, will relocate its corporate headquarters from Ellicott City, Md., to First Mariner’s headquarters in Baltimore City, Md. As a result of the merger, the relocation and a strong history of both organic growth and prior acquisitions, Howard Bank is now the largest bank based in Baltimore. This acquisition brings and retains approximately 160 employees in the city.