Spokane Journal of Business

Met posts $3.9 million in fiscal-year earnings

Spokane company’s gain reflects sharp turnaround after losses last two years

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Metropolitan Mortgage & Securities Inc., the big Spokane-based financial-services company, has reported net income of $3.9 million for its 2002 fiscal year ended Sept. 30, which marks a significant rebound after enduring two years of losses totaling about $16.5 million.

Summit Securities Inc., a Spokane-based affiliate of Metropolitan, separately posted fiscal-year net income of $4.4 million, reversing a $2.5 million loss the previous year.

The two companies disclosed the figures in annual reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. They didnt break out numbers for their fourth-quarter performance, and havent released figures yet for their fiscal 2003 first quarter, which ended Dec. 31.

However, Erik Skaggs, Metropolitans vice president of production and market development says, Were continuing to meet our goals on our long-term growth strategy, and the company is stronger this year, in my opinion, than it was last year, and were continuing to grow.

Metropolitan reported total revenues of about $163.9 million for its 2002 fiscal year, up from $119.2 million in 2001. Skaggs says a 127 percent increase in commercial lending contributed to that revenue rise, with the company funding about $500 million in commercial loans last year. Metropolitan is projecting another sharp increase in commercial lending this year that should lift it to a volume level of $80 million to $100 million a month in loans, he says.

Skaggs and Bob Ness, Metropolitans controller, say the company also received a big boost from an increase in its net interest income spread after provisions for losses on receivables. That spread amounted to $34.3 million last year, up from about $12 million in 2001 and $9 million in 2000.

It has allowed us to really strengthen our balance sheet, Ness says.

This year, in addition to boosting its commercial lending further, the company is looking to further expand its real estate contract buying volume, targeting $10 million a month in closed contracts compared with an average of around $3.5 million a month at the beginning of the last fiscal year.

We have retooled our contracts division, and changed marketing and compensation programs, and it has taken us from third in the industry back to number one, Skaggs asserts.

While the targeted monthly volume doesnt compare with that of commercial lending, the company holds the real-estate contracts an average of seven years, deriving long-term revenue from them, compared with just 18 months on the commercial loans, he says.

Metropolitan reported total assets of about $1.8 billion as of Sept. 30, up from $1.4 billion a year earlier. The company employs about 420 people, up from a low of around 290 in September 2002, but well below the about 635 people it had employed in September 2000. Skaggs says its employment should remain level now.

Summit Securities Inc., a Metropolitan affiliate, posted fiscal-year net income of $4.4 million, reversing a $2.5 million loss in 2001.

Kim Crompton
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