The top executive of Maryland Federal Bancorp, Hyattsville, Md., said the thrift expects to earn $2.97 million for its fiscal third quarter ended Nov. 30, up nearly 3 from a year ago.

Robert H. Halleck, president and chief executive, told a group of investors in Boston that mortgage activity had been strong in the thrift's market area, which consists of four Maryland counties near Washington, D.C.

Mr. Halleck said the thrift's nine month earnings would reach $9.7 million, or $2.89 a share, up 30.5% from $7.4 million, or $2.26 a share.

Maryland Federal is the holding company for Maryland Federal Savings and Loan Association, which operates 21 offices and has $845 million in assets.

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