Mortgage banking companies had a moderately good second quarter in 1994, good enough to erase their first-quarter losses and break even for the first half, according to a new compilation by the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The figures, based on reports from 304 companies, show that the industry had a profit margin of 0.3% and a return on equity of 0.4% for the first half. The average company had a meager profit of just $56,000, the trade group found.

The group is compiling industrywide performance figures and releasing them a quarter at a time until it catches up to current data. This process is expected to be completed in about two more months.

The association said in its latest report that data will be available only on a year-to-date basis. It also said its sample was likely to shrink because of mergers, failures, or lack of year-to-date reporting.

The performance figures pretty much reflect events in the mortgage banking industry.

In the second quarter of 1994, companies were still experiencing problems after a devastating beginning of the year. With originations plummeting, price competition was fierce and profitability scant. Many companies sold servicing to offset losses on originations, with the result that the immediate bleeding was stanched.

The report said annualized first-half revenues last year were below the 1993 level in every category. Revenues for the average company were down 27%.

Even though servicing sales bolstered profits, servicing income actually declined by 5.5% in the half.

On the expense side, companies began to reduce costs in the face of declining revenues. The average company had expenses of $19.2 million, a 10% decline. Servicing-related expenses, however, fell by 42% as the flow of new mortgages into portfolios because of heavy refinancings stopped cold. Personnel expenses fell 9.5% and other expenses 10.4%.

The trade group gets its data from the mortgage bankers financial reporting form, which all Fannie Mae, Ginnie Mae, and Freddie Mac seller- servicers are required to file.

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