Kamis, 26 Juni 2008

Bank of England Reduces Bank Rate by 0.25 Percentage Points to 5.0%

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee today voted to reduce the official Bank Rate paid on commercial bank reserves by 0.25 percentage points to 5.0%.

CPI inflation rose to 2.5% in February. The Committee expects inflation to rise further this year, reflecting the continuing impact of higher energy and food prices, as well as the recent depreciation of sterling on import costs. Such pressures are already evident in producer input costs and pricing intentions.

Even if commodity prices remain at their current high levels, inflation should fall back. But to ensure that inflation meets the 2% target in the medium term, the Committee needs to balance two risks. On the upside, above-target inflation this year could raise inflation expectations so that, in the absence of some margin of spare capacity, inflation would remain above the target. On the downside, the disruption in financial markets could lead to a slowdown in the economy that was sufficiently sharp to pull inflation below the target.

In the Committee’s judgement, the balance of these risks to the inflation outlook in the medium term justifies a cut in Bank Rate this month. Credit conditions have tightened and the availability of credit appears to be worsening. While the recent depreciation in sterling will support net exports, the prospects for output growth abroad have deteriorated. In the United Kingdom, business surveys suggest that growth has begun to moderate and that a margin of spare capacity will emerge during this year. This should help to keep domestic inflationary pressures in check in the medium term.

Against that background, the Committee judged that a reduction in Bank Rate of 0.25 percentage points to 5.0% was necessary to meet the 2% target for CPI inflation in the medium term.

The minutes of the meeting will be published at 9.30am on Wednesday 23 April.

Note to Editors

The previous change in Bank Rate was a reduction of 0.25 percentage points to 5.25% on 7 February 2008.

Howard Bancorp, Inc.

Howard Bancorp, Inc. (OTC, Electronic Bulletin Board:HBMD), the parent company of Howard Bank, today announced net income of $76 thousand for the first three months of 2008, compared to the $116 thousand loss recorded in the first quarter of 2007. In late 2007 the company began to record income tax expense, which was not a factor for the first quarter of 2007. Pretax income in the first quarter of 2008 was $147 thousand, an improvement of $263 thousand or 227% versus 2007. Net Interest Income of $1.6 million increased by 24% over the comparable period in 2007, while noninterest income increased by 95% over the same period. Total expenses of $1.5 million for the first quarter reflected a modest increase of $74 thousand or 5% compared to the same period in 2007.

The growth in both net interest income and non-interest income were primarily attributable to continued balance sheet growth. Total assets grew to $204 million as of March 31, 2008, a $45 million or 29% increase compared to assets of $158 million at March 31, 2007. Total loans increased by $51 million (39%), ending at $181 million at the end of the first quarter of 2008 versus loans of $130 million at the same period in 2007. Total deposits grew by 28%, with March 31, 2007 deposits of $167 million compared to deposits of $131 million at March 31, 2007. Noninterest bearing deposits, which are the lowest cost source of deposits, the key measurement of a customer's primary relationship, and the source of a large portion of noninterest income, increased by $11 million or 56% when comparing the first quarter of 2008 to 2007. Total capital at March 31, 2008 was $24 million which represents an increase of $1.9 million over the capital level for the same period in 2007. Since loan growth for the year outpaced the increase in deposits, some additional funding for the loan growth was provided both by decreasing the levels of lower yielding overnight investments and by utilizing advances from the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Chairman and CEO Mary Ann Scully stated: "We are pleased with our financial results for the first quarter of 2008, despite the uncertainty about the future direction of the US economy in the short term. Our balance sheet, our revenue and our net income reflect continued strong growth, on target with our strategic plan and attributable to the faith that our marketplace has placed in our capabilities. These positive variances differentiate us from many others in the market. In an attempt to signal support for the credit markets, the Federal Reserve has repeatedly lowered key interest rates which has both put pressure on the securities portfolio and floating rate loan portfolio yields and necessitated a drop in the rates paid on certain customer deposit categories. These yield pressures have affected all banks. Certainly, Howard Bank's focus on loans to customers as the key component of our earning assets and customer transaction and savings deposits as the primary source of funding mitigates our exposure to the investment marketplace swings borne by some other banks. Our intentionally balanced mix of fixed and floating rate loans also provides us with some protection from the full force of net interest margin compression. Howard Bank is not exposed to the subprime residential mortgage market correction and the vast majority of our commercial clients- even those directly or indirectly serving the building industry- remain on solid footing even if their growth has been stymied in these conditions. The region's mix of government related contractors and a reasonably buoyant sector serving local consumers also supports the continuing high credit quality in our loan portfolio. However, a rapid and sustained drop in interest rates, such as we have experienced, also provides challenges for us. A slowing economic environment necessitates a prudent approach to adding to reserves to reflect both general and specific conditions in our marketplace and our loan portfolio. We are convinced that the greatest point of our differentiation lies in our focus on the still relevant fundamentals of banking. Client specific as well as market sensitive risk management, a deep commitment to relationship based core deposit funding, and the early establishment and ongoing maintenance of a very strong capital base are serving us, our customers and our shareholders very well. These values and commitments are also responsible for our growing leadership role in one of the healthiest and most robust markets in the country as the only locally managed bank in Howard County."

This press release contains statements that are forward-looking, as that term is defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 or the Securities and Exchange Commission in its rules, regulations, and releases. The Company intends that such forward-looking statements be subject to the safe harbors created thereby. All forward-looking statements are based on current expectations regarding important risk factors, including but not limited to real estate values, local and national economic conditions, and the impact of interest rates on financing. Accordingly, actual results may differ from those expressed in the forward-looking statements, and the making of such statements should not be regarded as a representation by the Company or any other person that results expressed therein will be achieved. The Company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to publicly release the result of any revisions that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events.

Howard Bank Wins Second Financial Literacy Award

Howard Bank has won the Independent Community Bankers Association’s 2008 Financial Literacy Award. This is the second honor for the local bank’s efforts to improve money management skills and encourage saving among its customers. In September, the bank won the Maryland Bankers Association’s 2007 Consumer Education Award in the Adults and Seniors Category.

Howard Bank is the county’s only locally owned and operated bank.

“As the county’s only locally owned and operated bank, we’re committed to the people of our community,” says bank chairman, president and CEO Mary Ann Scully. As she and her staff see it, part of that commitment is helping customers — from children to senior citizens — better manage their money.

The ICBA award recognizes the bank’s efforts to encourage kids to save.

In partnership with Clemens Crossing, Running Brook and Waterloo Elementary Schools in Columbia and Resurrection St. Paul’s School in Ellicott City, Howard Bank set up in-school banks where students can deposit money in savings accounts. There is no minimum opening deposit, minimum balance and/or service charge. The banks are open every other week and are staffed mainly by students who serve as tellers, security guards and marketing reps.

“We’ve found that these partnerships enable us to address large groups of children on a regular basis and make saving fun,” Relationship Manager and Vice President Christa Spalding says.


WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) is pleased to announce the recent reaccreditation of the Texas Department of Banking, certifying that the Department maintains the highest standards and practices in state banking supervision.

“The Texas Department of Banking is pleased to be recognized by its peers as a highly skilled, competent, professional organization that capably fulfills the important responsibility of ensuring the safety and soundness of our state-chartered banks,” said Banking Commissioner Randall S. James.

The Texas Department of Banking was first accredited by CSBS in 1993, and now has been reaccredited three times – in 1998, 2003 and 2008.

Organizationally, the Department is under the Texas Finance Commission. As of December 31, 2007, the Banking Department licenses, charters and regulates the activities of 330 state-chartered banks with $154.3 billion in assets with approximately 37,000 employees. In addition, the Department oversees bank holding companies, foreign banks, trust companies, money services businesses, prepaid funeral contracts, perpetual care cemeteries, private child support enforcement agencies, and check verification entities. The Department’s mission is to ensure Texas has a safe and sound financial services system.

The CSBS Performance Standards Committee voted for the accreditation, basing their vote on the reports of the Accreditation Review Team and Audit Team. Those teams evaluated the Department’s ability to fulfill its statutory responsibility to charter, examine, supervise and regulate all state-chartered commercial banks in Texas. Although the Department regulates additional financial institutions, the CSBS accreditation program limited its review to the regulation and supervision of state-chartered commercial banks, bank holding companies and independent trust companies.

The team reviewed seven designated areas: administration and finance; personnel; training; examination policies and procedures; ability to rate financial institutions, recognize problems and initiate effective corrective procedures; supervision; and legislative powers.

The review was conducted primarily on-site at the Department’s Austin office over three days in April. The report and scores are based on documentary evidence, such as a random sample of examination reports and other files. The CSBS Review Team conducted a thorough review of the Department’s self-evaluation questionnaire, interviewed key management personnel and a cross section of examiners and reviewed the products of supervision.

“The accreditation process provides an objective critical analysis to ensure we are current in our examination policies and procedures and that we employ nationally recognized best practices in regulatory supervision and oversight. I am very proud of the Department's staff and their efforts,” James said.


CSBS is the nationwide organization for state banking, representing the bank regulators of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and approximately 6,200 state-chartered financial institutions. The Conference is responsible for defending state authority to determine banking structure and the products and services state-chartered institutions can offer and for improving the quality of state bank supervision by providing department performance evaluation and accreditation programs and supervisory education/training programs for state banking department personnel.

Bank of America Names Central, Southeast Missouri Market Presidents

ST. LOUIS, June 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Bank of America Missouri Market President Patricia Mercurio today announced two new key leaders for the company in Missouri. Mary Diblasi will serve as market president for central Missouri, while Terry Tuschhoff will assume responsibility as southeast Missouri market president.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050720/CLW086LOGO-b)

As central Missouri market president, Diblasi will be the senior executive for local business, civic and philanthropic leadership for Bank of America in Boone, Audrain, Randolph, Saline, Cooper, and Howard Counties. She will work to strengthen local communication and integration among the company's business lines, continuously improve the customer experience, grow revenue and represent Bank of America in the community. Diblasi presently leads a team of Global Consumer and Small Business Banking associates as banking center manager in Columbia, and will continue in that role.

"Mary is a superb choice for community market president, and we are excited that she will be stepping into this critical leadership position," said Mercurio. "She has a solid leadership track record and excels at business development and demonstrating Bank of America's commitment to the community."

Diblasi has a long history of community involvement including serving three terms on the board and as drive chair of the Mexico, Mo. United Way. Diblasi is currently moving from Mexico, Mo. to Columbia, Mo.

As southeast Missouri market president, Tuschhoff will provide strategic leadership for Bank of America in southeast Missouri. He will work to strengthen communication and integration for Bank of America customers, while reaching out to local non-profit groups to help address the needs of the community. Tuschhoff will continue in his current role as community bank executive in Jackson, where he manages a team of banking center associates.

"We are very pleased that Terry will be representing Bank of America as community market president," said Mercurio. "He has exhibited outstanding leadership qualities during his 33 years with Bank of America. "

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Tuschhoff serves on the Jackson Chamber of Commerce. His past volunteer and civic involvement has included the American Red Cross and the Optimist Club. Tuschhoff is a resident of Jackson.

Bank of America

Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 59 million consumer and small business relationships with more than 6,100 retail banking offices, nearly 18,500 ATMs and award-winning online banking with nearly 25 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in more than 150 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


Photo: NewsCom: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050720/CLW086LOGO-b
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

SOURCE: Bank of America

CONTACT: Robert J. Darmanin, Bank of America, +1-248-637-2521,

Web site: http://www.bankofamerica.com/

Texas Banking Commissioner Announces Retirement

June 16, 2008

After more than 16 years with the Texas Banking Department, including almost nine as Texas Banking Commissioner, Randall S. James has announced his retirement from state service.

Hired as Deputy Commissioner in November 1991 by then Banking Commissioner Kenneth W. Littlefield, Mr. James served in the role of Deputy for incoming Commissioner Catherine A. Ghiglieri. Following her departure in 1999, the Finance Commission selected Mr. James to become Banking Commissioner. He also held the position of Executive Director of the Texas Finance Commission, the Department's oversight body, from July of 1999 to June of 2007.

As Texas Banking Commissioner, his responsibilities currently include the regulation and supervision of 330 state-chartered banks which control approximately $153 billion in banking assets. In addition, he also directs the supervision of trust companies with approximately $29 billion in fiduciary assets. Other regulated entities under the Department’s supervision are foreign bank agencies and branches with $42 billion in deposits, prepaid funeral licensees, money services businesses, perpetual care cemeteries and private child support enforcement agencies.

During his tenure, the agency was successful in: drafting and obtaining passage of nine material pieces of legislation affecting banking and other industries the Banking Department works with; twice obtaining additional appropriation authority for much-needed substantive salary adjustments for staff; and expanding his and his staff’s availability to and communication with Texas bankers.

In 2005, Commissioner James received the SMU Southwestern Graduate School of Banking Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award, for his contributions to Texas banking. For the last ten to 12 years, he has been on the Advisory Boards of the Texas Tech Banking School, the Bank Operations Institute at SMU, and the Smith-Hutson Endowed Chair of Banking at Sam Houston State University. He has also instructed at these Texas graduate banking schools and SWGSB.

Commissioner James said, “I am proud to see the energy and relevance reflected in the Banking Department. And the resurgence in Texas banking is great. It really has been and continues to be ‘all about the people’. Leaving the Banking Department is not easy; but for me, it is time to see where the next opportunities are.”

John L. Snider, Chairman of the Texas Finance Commission, stated, “Commissioner James, along with the Banking Department under his leadership, has raised the bar. We regret his decision, but know he will have continued success in his future endeavors.”