Canadian Underwriter

Western Financial earnings up for 2002

April 16, 2003   by Canadian Underwriter

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Alberta-based Western Financial Group (TSX: WES), formerly known as Hi-Alta, reports net income is up 57.9% for 2002. Last year, the broker consolidator brought in net income of $1.57 million, versus $991,800 million in 2001.
2002 also saw Western Financial receive its charter to start up a new bank in November, with opening day deposits on January 30, 2003 exceeding $1 million.
The brokerage operations, WFG Agency Network, fell short of their $1.9 million target for 2002, but same-store revenue was up 13% year-on-year, and same-store customer counts up 2%. Overall, revenue was up 24.4% between 2001 and 2002, from $22.5 million to $28 million. And premium sales grew to $160 million last year versus $135 million a year prior, a change of 18%. Earnings (EBITDA) were up to $5.2 million from $4.5 million in 2001, a 15.6% increase.
Among the highlights of 2002, the WFG Agency Network grew to 48 locations, with 10 acquisitions.
For 2003, the company plans to establish “Bank West”. “Based on the success of its insurance network, the company believes there is great opportunity for Bank West in rural markets, especially as the major banks are de-emphasizing their presence in smaller towns,” states a release. The company also plans in the coming year to apply for mutual fund dealer status, and launching its “guarantee of value” insurance program.

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