Baltimore's Sterling Bancorp, which took the unusual step of suing a much larger institution to force it to go through with a merger, is battling new charges that it hid bad loans and lied about a past merger attempt.

Provident Bankshares amended its May countersuit against $70-million-asset Sterling, charging that officials there tried to camouflage nearly $8 million in overdue loans because they weren't properly underwritten with updated financial information, appraisals, or other documentation, according to court records filed last week in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

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