TUESDAY UPDATE - National Penn says the First Mariner deal is off, now that Bankruptcy Court has ordered a new auction. Nat Penn is still interested.
MONDAY: National Penn Bancshares, Allentown, Pa., made the high bid for Baltimore's First Mariner Bancorp, the largest bank still based in that former financial center, offering $19.1 milllion in a bankruptcy auction, reports the Allentown Morning Call here: "The deal must still be approved by a federal bankruptcy court judge and banking regulators. A hearing is scheduled for Monday in Baltimore's U.S. Bankruptcy Court."
The banks hope the deal will be closed by summer, Michael Hughes, Nat Penn CFO, told the paper, adding that the would-be buyer plans to expand business lending. First Mariner operates 18 Baltimore-area branches and will keep its name. It was founded 19 years ago, as Maryland National Bank and other local institutions were being sold to out-of-state lenders, by Edwin F. Hale Sr. Hale made his millions in shipping and trucking, owns the Baltimore Blast soccer team, and still holds nearly 10% of First Mariner, whose stock trades at pennies a share, down from a peak of around $20, the Call says.