Alberta-based Western Financial Group (TSX: WES) increased net income for the third quarter of this year by 45% to $516,810 compared with the $356,677 reported for the same period a year ago. This equates to diluted earnings of 2c a share for the latest quarterly reporting period against the 1c a share shown for the third quarter of 2002. The broker/financial services company’s stronger earnings for the third quarter of this year largely resulted from organic growth which saw consolidated revenue rise to $8.1 million against the $7.3 million reported 12 months ago, a statement notes. Western Financial’s net earnings for the first nine months of 2003 clocked in 21% higher year-on-year at $1.5 million compared with the $1.3 million made over the same period in 2002. This was achieved on the back of a 16% increase in consolidated revenue which came in at $24.1 million for the latest nine months versus the $20.8 million disclosed for the same period last year. Diluted earnings amount to 7c a share for the first nine months of this year, reflecting static growth compared with the 7c a share reported for the first three quarters of 2002. The company statement notes that the group’s banking operation, Bank West, has achieved lower operating costs than initially expected, thus its operating loss for the latest reporting periods has been lower. As a result, the bank operation will follow a more aggressive growth program in loan funding business with the objective of shortening its loss/earnings break-even target which is presently set for the fourth quarter of next year. Currently, Bank West is running new loan funding of about $2 million to $3 million a month. Commenting on the overall performance of Western Financial, the company’s CEO Scott Tannas says, “our net income continues to grow quickly, while we make major business development leaps at the same time – this is a rare combination”.