A group of investors has emerged victorious in a bidding war for First Mariner Bank in Baltimore.

RKJS Bank, an interim company formed by a group of local Baltimore investors, won First Mariner's bankruptcy auction Tuesday after National Penn Bancshares (NPBC) in Allentown, Pa., withdrew its offer. A First Mariner spokesman confirmed the outcome.

RKJS came close to losing out on First Mariner. The investors agreed in February to buy the bank in a court-supervised auction and inject it with $100 million in capital. But National Penn's entry into the bidding process threw a wrench in that plan.

First Mariner's holding company, First Mariner Bancorp (FMAR), selected National Penn as the winning bidder last week despite the fact that the total value of its $19.1 million offer was lower than that of RKJS. The holding company picked National Penn because it believed the deal would have a better chance of securing regulatory approval, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.

RKJS filed an objection Monday, arguing that First Mariner Bancorp had conducted a "hopelessly tainted auction process." When U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David Rice agreed to reopen bidding Tuesday, National Penn dropped out.

RKJS' winning bid was for $17.7 million with a $3 million nonrefundable deposit, according to multiple news reports.

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