Maryland Federal Bancorp earned $3.1 million in the quarter that ended Aug. 31, 21% more than a year earlier.

The quarter is the second of the company's fiscal year. For the entire first half, the Hyattsville, Md.-based thrift posted earnings of $6.7 million, up 48%.

Robert H. Halleck, president and chief executive of Maryland Federal, expects the second half of the year to shape up even better. "Loan volume is good. There don't appear to be any major dangers of compression of net interest margins," he said.

Analysts reacted favorably to the $845-million-asset thrift's earning, although its stock price was unchanged at $27 1/2 on Tuesday afternoon.

"It is a very stable performer," said John Bailey, banking analyst with Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., a Washington-based broker-dealer. "Management doesn't make any big, rash decisions. It does things slowly and carefully."

Loans grew by 2.7% to $659.8 million in the first six months of the year, Mr. Halleck said the thrift has $90 million in new loans that are being processed.

"This organization can still grow its portfolio. A lot of organizations haven't been able to do that." Mr. Halleck said.

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