PennyMac Mortgage Investment Trust posted a profit of $19.1 million, or 65 cents a share, for the first quarter, noting it continues to benefit from growth in the correspondent lending space.

The Moorpark, Calif.-based company's correspondent funding volumes reached $1.8 billion in the first quarter, while interest-rate lock commitments came in well over $2.4 billion. That compares to correspondent lending volumes of $991 million and an interest-rate lock commitment of $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Of all the correspondent fundings, conventional loans represented $992 million of the company's business, while FHA loan volumes hit $795 million and jumbos represented $5 million.

PennyMac's CEO Stanford Kurland said the company's investment in distressed loans clocked a solid performance with loan modification activity up from the fourth quarter.  In addition, PMT benefited from investment income of $41.3 million on financial instruments.

The firm's distressed mortgage portfolio produced $11.1 million in realized and unrealized gains for the first quarter, compared to $19.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. When analyzing those gains for the first quarter, the firm noted that $4.8 million in gains resulted from the fact that the firm collected on loan balances at levels higher than their recorded fair market values.

Gains from higher valuations totaled $6.3 million in the first quarter, up from $14.3 million in the fourth quarter. These gains were mostly driven by the company's portfolio of nonperforming whole loans, PennyMac said in its earnings statement.