BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Howard Bancorp has been given approval to acquire First Mariner Bank, the Federal Reserve Board announced Monday.

The Ellicott City-based company is now able to move forward with the $163.4 million deal. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. approved the bank merger on Jan. 31.

The go-ahead clears the way for Howard to become the biggest Baltimore-based bank since Mercantile Bankshares, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.

The approval moves Howard to the No. 7 spot in the Greater Baltimore market, BBJ reports.

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