Patapsco Bancorp, Dundalk, Md., has a deal to buy Belmar Federal Savings and Loan Association for a yet-to-be-determined price. Belmar Federal, based in Baltimore, has one branch and $18.7 million of assets.

"This gives us a location in a second neighborhood of our native east Baltimore," said Joseph J. Bouffard, president of $91 million-asset Patapsco. "We believe it is important for community banks to grow if they are to survive. This deal is a chance to use our capital to grow."

Before merging with Patapsco, Belmar Federal plans to convert to a public company with a commercial bank charter. Mr. Bouffard said the sale price would be determined by this process. The deal is expected to close during the fourth quarter.

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