New Century Financial Corp. said it earned $8.8 million in the quarter ending Dec. 31, up from $3.3 million in the same quarter in 1997.

The subprime lender had $44 million of liquidity, including $30.9 million of cash and $13.1 million of borrowing capacity.

Brad A. Morrice, vice chairman and president of New Century, attributed the company's strong liquidity position at yearend to a strategic alliance with U.S. Bancorp that raised $20 million in capital.

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