Syn­ergy Fi­nan­cial ac­quires 1st Mariner Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - — Sarah Gantz — Natalie Sher­man

Syn­ergy Fi­nan­cial Group, a Tow­son fi­nan­cial ser­vices firm, has ac­quired 1st Mariner Bank’s in­vest­ment ser­vices busi­ness. Un­der the deal, Syn­ergy Fi­nan­cial will take over man­age­ment of 1st Mariner Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Inc.’s 1,200 clients im­me­di­ately. Fi­nan­cial terms were not dis­closed. Larry Leitch, a co-founder and Part­ner at Syn­ergy Fi­nan­cial Group, said in a state­ment the 1st Mariner Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices ac­qui­si­tion will be “a great fit for the ex­ist­ing ad­vi­sors on our team.”

Shed­ding its in­vest­ment ser­vices busi­ness al­lows 1st Mariner, un­der new lead­er­ship since it was bought in a court-su­per­vised auc­tion in 2014, to fo­cus on strength­en­ing other di­vi­sions. Rob Ku­nisch, pres­i­dent and COO at 1st Mariner Bank, was part of a group that bought the in­sti­tu­tion for $18.7 mil­lion af­ter the bank filed for bank­ruptcy. Founded in 1995 by truck­ing ex­ec­u­tive Ed­win F. Hale Sr., 1st Mariner strug­gled for years to re­cover af­ter the hous­ing bub­ble col­lapsed, but could not right it­self.

The bank’s new lead­er­ship has fo­cused on growth through small busi­ness loans, mort­gages and re­tail cus­tomers. First Mariner now has about $1 bil­lion in as­sets. The bank has 300 em­ploy­ees and 14 branches in Baltimore City, and Baltimore, Anne Arun­del, Har­ford and Howard coun­ties. which has also worked on the for­mer Hochschild Kohn ware­house in Mount Ver­non.

The Time Group plans to re­de­velop the build­ing into 85 to 100 mar­ket-rate rental units, with some space for stu­dios, Wiker said. The firm is work­ing in part­ner­ship with the Fox fam­ily, which owns the prop­erty, as well as Alexan­der De­sign Stu­dio and Whit­ing-Turner. The roughly $20 mil­lion project is el­i­gi­ble for a city tax credit for apart­ment build­ings, as well as his­toric tax cred­its, Wiker said. The build­ing could open as soon as 2018, he said.

Simp­son Strong-Tie did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment Tues­day. The com­pany has been in the build­ing since pur­chas­ing Fox In­dus­tries in 2011. It is a sub­sidiary of Cal­i­for­nia-based Simp­son Man­u­fac­tur­ing, which makes wood and con­crete con­struc­tion prod­ucts at fa­cil­i­ties around the world.

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