First Mariner Bancorp of Baltimore said Tuesday that its third-quarter loss narrowed to $2.8 million as the company took steps to reduce its expenses.

The $1.3 billion-asset First Mariner lost $3.6 million in the third quarter of last year.

It said it closed its Towson, Md., branch, sold its branch in Ocean City, completed a restructuring of its mortgage and retail operations, and consolidated some administrative functions.

Still, the credit issues that have hobbled First Mariner for nearly two years persisted in the quarter. Nonperforming assets — primarily residential mortgages and residential construction loans — increased 53%, to $55.7 million, or nearly 4.4% of assets.

Accruing loans 90 days or more past due increased 49%, to $11.6 million, or 1.24% of loans.

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