Foiled last year in an effort to acquire a local rival, Baltimore's First Mariner Bancorp is giving it another try.

First Mariner has bought 207,548 shares-or 19%-of Glen Burnie Bancorp from two investors for $4.5 million cash.

These are the same shares $257 million-asset First Mariner said it was buying in a Schedule 13D filed Nov. 14, 1997. The bank later said that filing was a "clerical error."

Edwin F. Hale Sr., president and chief executive officer of First Mariner, has made it clear he wants to merge the two banks. He said this week that Glen Burnie Bancorp's six branches would be a "nice fit" with his bank's branch network.

First Mariner will pay $4.5 million cash for the shares, about $21 per share. On Wednesday, shares of Glen Burnie Bancorp closed at $28, unchanged.

F. William Kuethe Jr., president and chief executive officer of $225 million-asset Glen Burnie Bancorp, said First Mariner approached his bank early last year about a deal. But he said his bank is not looking for a buyer.

"We have a strategic plan that says we will stay independent," Mr. Kuethe said.

If First Mariner wants to acquire the rest of Glen Burnie, it could have a tough fight. Mr. Kuethe said the holding company's bylaws require an 80% shareholder assent to approve a merger.

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