Two regional banking compaines yesterday reported substantial increases in profits during 1977.

Maryland National Corp. parent firm of the Free State's largest commercial bank, posted an 18 per cent pain while Virginia National Bank-shares reported an increase of 14.4 per cent.

Not counting gains or losses from selling securities, Maryland National earned $18.7 million ($2.63 a share) compared with $15.9 million ($2.23) in 1976. Net income was $18.7 million ($2.63) vs. $16 million ($2.24).

Chairman Robert D. H. Harvey said fourth-quarter operating profits also increased to $5 million (70 cents) from $4.6 million (64 cents) in the 1976 period.

Assets of the firm, which owns Maryland National Bank and diversified financial services, rose $140 million in the year to $2.93 billion. Marynat deposits increased to $2.1 billion from $1.97 billion and loan volume on Dec. 31 was $1.86 billion compared with $1.67 billion a year ago.

Harvey attributed Marynat's gains to the growth of deposit and loan business, higher interest income and control over expenses.

Virginia National, based in Norfolk, reported record 1977 operating profits of $14.3 million ($3.13 a share) compared with $12.5 million ($2.78) the previous year. Net income, including securities transactions, was $14.25 million ($3.16) vs. $12.3 millionm ($2.74).

Fourth-quarter profits alone jumped 30 per cent to $4.3 million ($96 cents) from $3.3 million (74 cents) in the same period of 1976, chairman W. Wright Harrison said.

"Our earnings increase results from a reduction in non-performing assets and a strong increase in loan demand, with particular emphasis on consumer loan demand both for the fourth quarter and the year," he added.

Deposits on Dec. 31 totaled $1.87 billion compared with $1.75 billion a year earlier. Included in the resent total were $229 of deposits at Northern Virginia branches. Total assets rose 11 per cent to $2.1 billion while loan volume expanded by nearly 11 per cent to $1.23 billion.

Harrison said Virginia National's non-interest paying loans and real estate held for [WORD ILLEGIBLE] totaled $29 million on Dec. 31 compared with $45 million a year of 33 cents a share in 1977 earnings compared with 47 cents in 1976.