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Fastest Growing Mortgage Companies

Vineyard National Bank tops Fortune ranking

August 24, 2005


Several mortgage-related companies are still growing fast enough to make a noteworthy Fortune magazine ranking.

The top mortgage-related entity on Fortune magazine's latest list of the 100 Fastest-Growing Companies was Vineyard National Bank at No. 4.

Noting that the Southern California banker has been "benefiting from the real estate boom," Fortune said the company's growth over the past three years was 89% in earnings-per-share, 84% in revenue and 98% in total returns. Net income for the year ending in the first quarter 2005 totaled $15.4 million.

The rankings were based on three equally weighted factors; profit and sales growth for the past three years through the first quarter 2005, and the three-year total return through June. Companies making the list had revenues of at least $50 million for the most recent four quarters and annualized revenue and earnings-per-share growths of at least 25% for the past three years.

Jumping 46 spots from its ranking last year to grab the No. 25 position this year was William Lyon Homes. Net income for the Newport Beach, Calif.-based homebuilder, which finances homes through William Lyons Financial Services, was $176.7 billion over the past year, while annualized total returns over the past three years have grown 55% over the past three years, according to the magazine.

Real estate investment trust Friedman, Billings and Ramsey Group placed 27th -- off from No. 11 a year ago. The Virginia-based company's soaring, compound annual growth of 113% in earnings-per-share and 91% in revenues overshadowed the weaker figure of 11% in annualized total returns over the past three years. Over the past year, net income amounted to about $0.3 million and revenues $1.0 billion.

Countrywide Financial tumbled, down to No. 43 from last year's No. 7 position. Investors of the Calabasas, Calif.-based lender over the past three years have enjoyed compound annualized growth of 63% in earnings-per-share, 43% in revenues, and 49% in total returns. Countrywide had net income of $2.3 billion and revenues of $14.9 billion over the past year. Despite the fall from its previous rank on the list, the "mortgage-banking specialist with national brand riding home boom," as Fortune put it, was the largest mortgage originator in the second quarter with $120 billion in loans closed.

Making its second-consecutive appearance on the list was Capital Title Group Inc. at No. 57 -- although way off last year's No. 21 rank. The provider of title, appraisal and other transaction services to the real estate and mortgage lending industries said it was one of three Arizona-based companies to make the list. The company had annual revenues of $321.4 million and the strongest of the three-year annualized rate growth figures it was ranked on was in revenues at 69%. Earnings per share amounted to 17.1 million in the past year and the three-year compound growth was 37%.

"It is gratifying that our significant growth be recognized in a manner that places us within a select list of top-performing companies, an acknowledgment of our accomplishments as we increase our national platform," Capital CEO Donald Head said in a written statement. "Our national visibility and growth have also been noted within the Wall Street community as reflected in our stock appreciation, an added benefit for our shareholders."

Hovnanian Enterprises came in at No. 64. The New Jersey-based homebuilder, which originates home loans through K. Hovnanian American Mortgage LLC, has made the list four times in a row but is down a whopping 52 spots from a year ago. The three-year annualized growth in Hovnanian's earnings per share was 68%, in revenues was 32% and in total returns was 54%. Annually through the first quarter, net income totaled nearly $0.4 billion and revenues $4.4 billion.

Other mortgage-related entities on the Fastest-Growing list included, Wilshire Bancorp, Meritage Homes, which Fortune picked as one of the "seven stocks to bet on," and TALX.

Coco Salazar is an assistant editor and staff writer for MortgageDaily.com.

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