CWM Mortgage Holdings Inc. reported earnings of $15.4 million for the first quarter, up 50.9% from its profit in the same quarter last year.

With interest rates hovering just below 8% during most of the first three months of 1996, the real estate investment trust had $432 million of prepayments. As interest rates rose above 8% late in the quarter, prepayments declined, and a writedown for impairment of the REIT's mortgage servicing was not required.

The Pasadena, Calif.-based company bought $1 billion of jumbo and nonconforming loans in the quarter, reselling all as securities.

CWM's principal business is operating a private mortgage conduit, Independent National Mortgage Corp. The publicly traded company is affiliated with Countrywide Credit Industries.

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