Baltimore, like other large cities, is faced with a number of challenging social issues, including crime and poverty. Last April’s unrest brought a renewed focus on areas of Baltimore that warrant support and attention. As a company based in Baltimore City, with customers and employees who live and work here, we are committed to investing in people and programs that make Baltimore better.
What I love most about Baltimore is that so many companies and organizations, including 1st Mariner, believe that investing in Baltimore is the best path forward for our city. Just look at some of the growing companies we have in town, like Under Armour, which has brought jobs and a sense of excitement to Baltimore. Last September, 1.43 million people visited Baltimore for the Star-Spangled Spectacular bicentennial celebration, continuing years of growth in Maryland tourism since the recession. This spring, Baltimore hosted Light City, the first large-scale light, music and innovation festival in the United States. Baltimore is home to internationally renowned educational institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, Maryland Institute College of Art and the University of Maryland, which attract top talent to the city. For the first time in decades, we are seeing Baltimore’s population increase. These are tangible signs of growth in our city, brought about through the concerted efforts of government, nonprofits and many local businesses.
Community banks and other local businesses like 1st Mariner should play a very important role in our city’s growth. It’s our civic and fiscal responsibility to invest in the communities in which we operate, to make loans to businesses, provide mortgages to qualified home buyers, and to educate members of these communities about the financial resources available to them. As a community bank, we are deeply interested in the communities that we serve.
Baltimore’s communities are real neighborhoods where people know one another, often for generations. We take pride in our nickname of “Smalltimore” because that sense of history and character connects us together in ways that larger cities cannot replicate.
I’m proud to be a part of this community, and I’m grateful to the many other partners who are helping make Baltimore’s neighborhoods better places to live and work. At 1st Mariner, we realize that we are not alone in our efforts, and that sense of alignment and purpose as a business community is why I love Baltimore.