IndyMac Mortgage Holdings climbed out of the loss column in the first quarter.

After losing $74 million in the fourth quarter, IndyMac earned $24 million in the first, it reported Wednesday.

That was 24% million less than a year earlier, however, and per-share earnings of 30 cents were off 40%.

The company appears to have regained momentum since last year's global financial market crisis.

Its stock price rose during last week's Internet rally after the company said it would use the Internet to originate home improvement loans.

IndyMac shares, which closed Tuesday and Wednesday at $15, were trading at $15.375 at midday Thursday.

The company said the number of brokers using its Internet wholesale origination system, e-MITS, nearly doubled in the first quarter, to 188.

LoanWorks, the IndyMac division that lends through the Internet and through telemarketing and mail solicitations, funded $187 million in the quarter, up 105% from a year earlier and 10% from the fourth quarter.

IndyMac's loan production totaled $1.6 billion, down 47% from a year earlier and 41% from the fourth quarter. But chief executive officer Michael W. Perry said profit margins are "the strongest they have been in over a year."

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