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Published: Wednesday, 1/24/2001

First Defiance increases year's profits to record

FROM THE BLADE'S WIRE SERVICES

DEFIANCE - Increases in mortgage lending and business loans helped First Defiance Financial Corp boost profits by 27 per cent to a record $11 million, or $1.71 a share, in 2000.

The firm, which announced financial results Monday, operates the 13-branch First Federal Bank of the Midwest, Leader Mortgage Co. of Cleveland, and First Insurance and Investments, Defiance.

Last year was the second year of record profits, said Chief Executive William Small. He attributed the gains primarily to greater mortgage lending at the Leader Mortgage unit and more commercial loans at First Federal. Profits were up $2.3 million from $8.6 million, or $1.29 a share, in 1999.

On the downside, however, interest income fell to $21.7 million from $21.8 million in 1999.

For the fourth quarter, profits rose 42 per cent to $3.1 million, or 49-cents a share, from $2.2 million, or 34 cents a share, for the same period in 1999.

First Defiance reported year-end assets of $1.1 billion, up from $988 million a year earlier.

The firm's stock closed at $12.75, up 81 cents in trading on the Nasdaq market yesterday.

CLEVELAND - Banking company National City Corp. reported yesterday that earnings for 2000 fell 8 percent to $1.3 billion, or $2.13 per share.

Interest income was down 1.5 percent, to slightly under $3 billion. The provision for loan losses was up nearly 15 percent to nearly $287 million. Fees and other income went up 8.2 percent to $2.4 billion.

The Cleveland-based company, which operates banks and other financial services subsidiaries principally in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky, and Illinois, ended the year with assets of $88.5 billion.

National City reported that in the fourth quarter it had a profit of $308 million, or 50 cents a share.



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