* Q3 EPS C$0.81 vs est C$0.77
* Mortage funding at C$454.5 mln
* Says credit mkts improving
* Declares C$0.10 dividend
Nov 5 (Reuters) - Canadian mortgage lender Equitable Group Inc ETC.TO posted better-than-expected third-quarter profit as net interest margins rose due to better pricing of its new and renewing mortgages.
The company posted a quarterly net income of C$12 million ($11.3 million), or 81 Canadian cents, up from C$10.8 million, or 74 Canadian cents, a year ago.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 77 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net interest margin on a taxable equivalent basis increased to 2.2 percent from 1.7 percent a year ago.
“The economic and credit market landscapes have improved continuously over the second and third quarters of 2009,” Chief Executive Andrew Moor said in a statement.
Mortgage fundings stood at C$454.5 million for the quarter. In the same period last year, Equitable funded C$976.9 million of mortgages.
Equitable securitized and sold C$294.6 million of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corpn (CMHC)-insured mortgages, compared with C$440.0 million last year.
“The current strength of demand for mortgage financing will translate into strong performance for Equitable going forward,” Moor said.
Shares of the company closed at C$21.40 Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=1.062 Canadian Dollar) (Reporting by R. Manikandan in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)