Bank One, bought last week by the big financial services firm J.P. Morgan Chase, said it ended an agreement with SLM, the biggest student loan company, to market education loans under Bank One's name.

SLM, known as Sallie Mae, said the bank's acquisition by J.P. Morgan to create the nation's second-largest bank does not give Bank One the right to cancel the pact. The contract, in effect since 1999, was to expire in 2008.

Chicago-based Bank One said it would manage student loan sales and marketing internally and would offer jobs to the 70 Sallie Mae employees who were selling the loans, said Tom Kelly, a Bank One spokesman.

"Bank One believes that its actions are in accordance with its contractual rights and are entirely proper," the company said. J.P. Morgan plans to continue using the Bank One name for some of its businesses, including student lending.

Sallie Mae, based in Reston, said it "expects to review its relationship with [J.P. Morgan] and to resolve this matter to the benefit of each party." Its "long-term outlook for loan origination growth remains unchanged," the company said.


American Woodmark of Winchester, one of the biggest makers of cabinets for the new home construction and remodeling industry, will build a $12 million, 250,000-square-foot plant in Barton Business Park in Allegany County. The project is expected to create about 500 jobs in the county during the next five years.

BearingPoint of McLean, one of the world's largest business consulting and systems integration firms, said it opened a second Chinese office in the high-tech center of Dalian and plans to hire 1,500 people to do software maintenance and other work over the next 18 months. It already has an office in Shanghai.

Pepco Energy Services of Arlington, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, won a contract to implement an energy-saving program for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Thomas B. Finan and Joseph P. Brandenburg centers.

MeriStar Hospitality of Arlington, one of the nation's largest hotel real estate investment trusts, completed the acquisition of the Marriott Irvine in California for $92.5 million. The 484-room hotel will be operated by Marriott International under a long-term contract.

Murray's Chickens of Herndon was recently certified by the nonprofit Humane Farm Animal Care organization to add the "Certified Humane Raised and Handled" label to its packages in July. Murray's Chickens is the first American poultry company to become certified to use the label.


T. Rowe Price Group signed a letter of intent for a new lease at 100 E. Pratt St. that it said represented a long-term commitment to keep its global headquarters and more than 1,100 employees in downtown Baltimore. T. Rowe Price has been in the building since 1975 and its lease expires Oct. 31. The new lease expires in 2017.

Host Marriott, the Bethesda hotel owner, said it will redeem all the shares -- 4.16 million -- of its 10 percent Class A cumulative redeemable preferred stock on Aug. 3 at a redemption price of $25 per share plus $0.1250 dividends accrued from July 15.

Bresler & Reiner, a Rockville-based developer, said its board approved a 2-for-1 stock split to take effect Sept. 1.

Severn Bancorp of Annapolis, parent of Severn Savings Bank and Hyatt Real Estate, said U.S. Banker magazine ranked it ninth in the nation based on return on equity of the top 200 publicly traded community banks. The bank was also ranked ninth last year.

CoStar Group, a Bethesda real estate information company, signed new license agreements with terms of up to five years with four of the leading commercial real estate brokerage firms in San Diego. That gives it 18 of the top 20 brokerages in the city, it said.

George A. Roche, chairman and president of T. Rowe Price, takes in the view of Baltimore's inner harbor from the company's headquarters. The mutual fund company is renewing its lease at 100 E. Pratt St., where it has been since 1975.