Breaking with banking and business tradition, American Bank of Maryland predicted yesterday what its profits will be this year, forecasting a 60 percent increase in earnings.
American Bank, which earned just over a million dollars last year, should earn $1.6 million this year. Earnings per share should grow from $1.34 per share to $2.14, President E. G. (Bud) Manderfield said at the bank's annual meeting.
Manderfield said the bank was "trying to break the old scenario of banks telling their sharholders, well, if this happens, and if this happens and if this happens, then this is what ought to happen to us."
"We tried to cut through it," he added, to give the shareholders management's best estimate of the bank's performance.
He said the earnings projection assumes loans will grow about 38 percent this year (against 42 percent last year), checking accounts will increase by 10 percent (twice the national average) and the economy will continue to improve, with the prime rate ranging from 9 to 9 2/4 percent.
Nanderfield said the decision to forecast earnings - something most companies are reluctant to do despite the encouragement of some federal regulators - was made at American Bank and is now a corporate policy of Financial General Bankshares Inc., the parent of Amercian Bank.
Characterizing the profit prediction as probably unprecedented in banking, Manderfield said the move was made without consulting state or federal regulators.
American Bank had severly depressed earnings few years ago, and the forcast is a method of regaining stockholders confidence, Manderfield said.