Golden West Financial Corp., Oakland, Calif., has reported net earnings of $282.9 million (a record $1.83 per share) for the third quarter, up from $244.5 million ($1.56 per share) a year earlier.Mortgage loan originations -- chiefly adjustable-rate mortgages -- totaled a record $10.1 billion, up 50% from $6.7 billion in the third quarter of 2002. Herbert Sandler, Golden West's chairman and chief executive officer, noted that interest rates on ARMs are not as volatile as those on fixed-rate mortgages, and he said rates at Golden West were "low and stable" in the third quarter, spurring loan volume to all-time highs. The record volume "exceeded by far the payoffs and sales of our mortgages," he said. "The net result was a significant increase in the size of our mortgage portfolio." The company said the ARMs in its portfolio increased $3.5 billion (a 21% annualized rate) in the third quarter. Golden West, the parent of World Savings Bank, can be found on the Web at http://www.gdw.com.

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