Mountain West earnings down

The U.S. government takeover of the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. blew a $2.5 million hole in Mountain West Bank quarterly earnings, but the Coeur d’Alene-based bank still managed earnings of $1 million, down from $3.7 million for the same quarter in 2007.

The FHLMC, better known as Freddie Mac, was placed in conservatorship in September. Freddie Mac preferred stock held by Mountain West and other institutions was rendered worthless as a result.

The bank, owned by Glacier Bancorp., also booked a pre-tax profit of $1.7 million on the sale of real estate in Ketchum and set aside a $4.3 loan provision.

For the first nine months of 2008, Mountain West earnings fell 34 percent to $6.9 million, but assets and loans increased about 15 percent to $1.16 billion and $936 million, respectively. Average deposits were down 6 percent to $696 million as the bank replaced $44 million in wholesale certificates of deposit with less expensive borrowings.

Bert Caldwell

CdA Mines reports quarterly loss

Coeur d’Alene Mines Corp. on Friday reported a loss for the third quarter and first nine months of 2008 as the company works through development costs at new operations and marked-to-market metal pending sale to smelters.

The net loss for the quarter was $3.6 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with earnings of $3.6 million for the 2007 quarter.

For the nine-month period, the company lost $4.3 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with earnings of $29.6 million, or 10 cents per share, in 2007.

Silver production increased to 3.1 million ounces during the quarter, a jump of 25 percent over the second quarter as the San Bartolome plant in Bolivia ramped up production to a projected 3.2 million ounces of silver this year and 9 million ounces in 2009. Output at the Martha operation in Argentina also increased.

The projected operating life of the Rochester mine in Nevada was extended to 2014.

Meanwhile, construction of the Palmarejo project in Mexico remained on target for start-up in March 2009. But the Cerro Bayo mine in Chile was idled, with the expectation work would resume in 2010.

Chairman Dennis Wheeler noted that the company had grown its balance sheet to $120 million, and is working to cut nonoperating costs by 40 percent annually.

Bert Caldwell

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