lender, said it earned $1.5 million in its latest quarter, 208% more than a year earlier. Loan closings in the quarter, which ended Sept. 30, rose 85%, to $210.4 million. "We are continuing to perform exceptionally well ... despite increasing competition from many of the major commercial banks," said chief executive Clement Ziroli. First Mortgage's servicing portfolio totaled $1.66 billion on at the end of September, down 3% from a year earlier. Higher prepayments were responsible for the decline, the company said. It repurchased 239,000 shares of its common stock during the six months through September and 215,000 in October.

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