CHARLOTTE, N.C. - LendingTree Inc. announced a first-quarter net loss of $10.2 million, or 52 cents a share, 32% less than its fourth-quarter loss and 41% less than its loss in the first quarter of 2000.

Revenue for the online loan exchange was $12.3 million, up 28% from the fourth quarter and 200% from the year-earlier period.

Loan requests processed set a company record, topping 340,000. That was an increase of almost 80% against the fourth quarter and topped the year-earlier period by more than 150%, founder and chief executive officer Doug Lebda said in a press release issued Wednesday. He noted that marketing costs were 10% lower than in the fourth quarter.

Still, the three months were LendingTree's fifth straight quarter of negative earnings, a streak that dates to its going public in February 2000. Losses during those quarters topped $100 million.

LendingTree has garnered more than $110 million in five venture capital financing packages in the past two years, including its own initial public offering. It projects it will be profitable by the first quarter of 2002.

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