Ultra-jumbo mortgage lender Thornburg Mortgage reported its third quarter results well after market close today, registering a net loss of just under $1.1 billion for the quarter and canceling its third quarter common dividend payment as the lender adjusts to what many in the industry are calling the “worst mortgage market in history.” (The phrase was used by IndyMac CEO Mike Perry in discussing recently-completed layoffs at the Pasadena, Calif.-based thrift). In spite of the losses this past quarter the company “expects profitability and market conditions to improve in the fourth quarter,” it said in a press statement.

“Given the unprecedented turmoil in the credit markets that negatively impacted the company’s financial results for the third quarter, our ongoing concern about existing leveraged mortgage investors whose financing needs have yet to be resolved and the lack of clarity about normalized earnings given all of the changes in our balance sheet,” said CEO Garrett Thornburg, “we believe it is in the best long-term interests of our shareholders to forgo payment of a common dividend for the quarter and to make conserving cash, enhancing liquidity and selectively acquiring new assets our key priorities during the fourth quarter.â€?

The vast majority of the reported losses for the quarter at Thornburg were due to the sale of $21.9 billion of ARM assets during the quarter, which drove an aggregate estimated loss on those sales of $1.093 billion. Credit performance remained strong compared to industry averages, with 0.27 percent of the loan portfolio in 60-plus day delinquencies and REO — well below the 2.81 percent industry average, Thornburg said.

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