BALTIMORE (WJZ) — He was the face and founder of 1st Mariner Bank, but that chapter of Ed Hale’s life closed when he left the struggling bank four months ago.
Tuesday, in an exclusive one-on-one interview with Mary Bubala, Hale opens up about his next chapter in life.
“I was 384 stories high,” Hale said.
Hale’s penthouse days in the 1st Mariner Tower are over. He traded in 10,000 square feet for 2,700 but kept his water views by building a home in Sparrows Point. The inside looks identical to the penthouse; everything came with him — even the kitchen cabinets. But now Hale is just blocks from where he grew up.
“I am back in my neighborhood so I have always known about the beauty of this area,” Hale said. “Everyone who sees me says, `You look much more relaxed these days.’ I just had a complete workup and my blood pressure is down.”
It’s a transition to a slower-paced lifestyle for Hale. In December, he left the bank he built in order for it to survive. The New York investment firm that took over insisted on his departure. Hale misses the hundreds of employees who he hired.
“I like to be a guy who goes around and talks to everyone. There’s not a lot of pretense with me, as you know. I talk with everyone and I miss that,” Hale said.
At 65, Hale spends time with his grandkids, fishes and enjoys his soccer team, the Baltimore Blast. He also says he’s hoping to guide the development of a waterfront residential property in Canton. Hale loves living on the water—it’s in his blood, much like banking is—but that’s something he’s learning to live without. Even though he remains the biggest shareholder of 1st Mariner, he won’t be back at the helm.
“To be accepted by the regulators, to get back into another bank would be very difficult and I have been told so,” Hale said.
Hale still owns the Baltimore Blast and he is chairman of Visit Baltimore, the city’s tourism agency.
Hale opened 1st Mariner Bank in 1995 and sold it in 2011.