Equitable Group Inc. today reported record financial performance for the first quarter ended March 31, as well as significant progress towards its strategic goals for 2008.

Net income increased 21% to a record $9.7 million, or 74¢ compared, to $8 million, or 66¢, in the first quarter of 2007.

Return on equity was 18.8%, compared to Equitable’s 2008 objective of 16% to 18%.

The Productivity ratio improved to 26.0% from 26.5% in the first quarter a year ago – and was significantly better than the productivity ratio target of 27% to 30% for 2008.

No loan losses were realized in the first quarter, Equitable said.

Single-Family mortgage principal increased to $508.5 million (18% of principal outstanding) compared to $365.3 million (16% of principal outstanding) at Mar 31, 2007, as Single-Family production increased faster than the production of other mortgages due to the company’s increased focus on this line of business.

Equitable opened its Single Family Lending Services business in Manitoba subsequent to quarter end to complement existing operations in Ontario and Alberta.

Equitable introduced Commercial Mortgage – Broker Services to Alberta to take advantage of long-term opportunities to fund mixed-use, apartment, commercial and industrial building property mortgages.

“Equitable opened 2008 in record fashion, surpassing all of our performance objectives and beginning to deliver against our long-term plan,” says Andrew Moor, president and CEO.