Two major mortgage companies reported weak results this week as tough times in home lending continued to exert pressure on the bottom line.
North American Mortgage Co. came in with net income of $1.1 million for the fourth quarter, compared to $13.2 million for the year-earlier period.
Lomas Financial Corp. reported a net loss in its fiscal 1995 second quarter - ended Dec. 31, 1994 - of $41.2 million, or $2.04 a share, compared to a loss of $48 million in the year-earlier period. The loss included $7.5 million from discontinued operations.
North American's results included a $5.8 million writedown during the quarter for closed branches and layoffs.
"During the fourth quarter, the company intensified its review of its loan production cost structure," said Terrance G. Hodel, president of the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based company. "We closed 21 branches and terminated approximately 400 additional employees."
For the quarter, total revenues were $57.4 million, down 42% from the fourth quarter of 1993.
While North American benefited from higher prices for servicing, originations fees fell by 75%. The company also spent $2.5 million in additional hedging expenses.
Total expenses for the quarter were $57.1 million, down 28% from the same period a year earlier.
While the numbers reported by North American gave a grim picture of tough competition and reduced volume, analysts and investors greeted the report positively.
"They have made the kind of draconian cuts that are necessary," said Michael Corasaniti, an analyst with Alex. Brown & Co. In trading on Wednesday, shares of North American rose 12.5 cents, to $16#1/4.
Lomas attributed its $41.2 million loss in the latest quarter to a review of its balance sheet and current operations, which resulted in a provision to cover ongoing mortgage banking activities as well as a reduction in the carrying value of two discontinued operations.
Excluding the charges, which total $37.1 million, the net loss for the quarter would have been $4.1 million.
Among the provisions were one of $3 million to cover mortgage servicing receivables; a $3.5 million noncash reduction in the carrying value of its headquarters and adjacent land; and a $7.4 million noncash recognition of loss of the value of a swap agreement.
Revenue at Lomas was $57.4 million in the quarter, down 13% from the level in the year-earlier period.
Despite a lower rate of runoff and a strong environment for servicers, revenues from servicing operations fell by 8.8%, to $34.4 million.
This was a result of high debt and infrastructure costs, according to Mr. Corasaniti.
Lomas has been for sale since early in 1994. The company effected a sale of its information processing unit, Lomas Information Systems, in the fourth quarter.
During trading on Wednesday, Lomas lost 37.5 cents, to $3.25.