T. Rowe Price Group Inc., the Baltimore mutual fund and investment advisory firm, said its assets under management grew significantly in the third quarter, driving up profits.

T. Rowe Price earned $82.5 million (62 cents a share) in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with net income of $66.3 million (51 cents) in the same quarter of 2003. Revenue in the quarter was $317 million, compared with $259.1 million a year earlier.

The company's revenue is closely tied to the amount of money it manages. T. Rowe Price's revenue comes largely from the management fees it charges for its mutual funds, typically a percentage of the amount of money being managed. Average assets under management in its mutual funds were more than $126 billion in the most recent quarter, an increase of almost $23 billion from the third quarter of 2003.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, T. Rowe Price's net income was $240.1 million ($1.80) on revenue of $934 million, compared with $158.8 million ($1.25) on revenue of $716.9 million in the same period a year earlier.

* Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group Inc. said strong results in investment banking drove the Arlington company's net income up 62 percent in the third quarter.

FBR earned $92.1 million (55 cents a share) on revenue of $287.9 million, compared with net income of $57 million (41 cents) on revenue of $185 million in the same quarter of 2003. The company, which raises money for corporations and manages money for institutions and wealthy clients, said investment banking revenue in the quarter was $141.6 million, compared with $89.2 million a year earlier.

For the first nine months of the year, FBR earned $263 million ($1.56) on revenue of $754 million, compared with net income of $121.5 million ($1.11) on revenue of $383 million in 2003. The change in revenue was affected in part by FBR's much larger portfolio of mortgage-backed securities this year compared with last year.

* Columbia Bancorp said a 17 percent increase in loans in its suburban Maryland market fueled a slight increase in net income in the third quarter, offset in part by a drop in mortgage banking revenue.

The Howard County-based bank earned $3.5 million (48 cents a share) in the third quarter, compared with $3.4 million (47 cents) in the same quarter of 2003. Total loans on Sept. 30 were $936 million, compared with $797.1 million a year earlier.

For the first nine months of the year, Columbia earned $9.6 million ($1.30), compared with net income of $8.8 million ($1.19) in the same period of 2003. Total assets on Sept. 30 were $1.18 billion, compared with $1.01 billion a year earlier.