Western Financial Group Reports Record Revenues For 2007; Net Income Up 53%


    HIGH RIVER, AB, March 18 /CNW/ - (TSX-WES, WES.PR.A, WES.PR.B)

    Western Financial Group today reported record revenues and net income for
the year ended December 31, 2007. Revenue increased by 38.1% to $114.1 million
from $82.6 million in 2006. Net income increased 52.9% to $12.2 million. Basic
earnings per share were $0.24 (diluted $0.22) up from $0.22 (diluted $0.20) in

    Financial Highlights

    (in $ thousands)                              2007       2006   % change

    Revenue ($)                                 66,408     46,674       42.3%
    Operating income($)                         19,795     14,308       38.3%

    Interest & investment income ($)            13,805      8,214       68.1%
    Net interest & investment income ($)         3,803      2,236       70.1%
    Operating income($)                          1,090        218      400.0%

    Premium income($)                           27,348     22,857       19.6%
    Investment income ($)                        2,748      2,829      (2.9)%
    Operating income($)                          4,060      2,581       57.3%

    Revenue ($)                                  3,817      2,069       84.5%
    Operating loss($)                           (5,313)    (5,457)       2.6%

    Revenue ($)                                114,126     82,643       38.1%
    Net Income ($)                              12,213      7,988       52.9%

    Earnings per share
      - basic                                 $   0.24   $   0.22        9.1%
      - diluted                               $   0.22   $   0.20       10.0%

    "We are proud to report another record year of exceptional growth and
improved profitability," said Scott Tannas, Western's C.E.O. "All our business
units gained market share. All made significant improvements to their bottom
lines. Our brand is gaining recognition across the West. We also began paying
a dividend in 2007, signaling our confidence in the strength of our operations
today and our optimism about the future."

    WFG Agency Network

    The Network's revenue showed a 42.3% increase, driven by new acquisitions
and strong gains in same store sales - up 7.7%.

    Bank West

    In 2007, the Bank grew its loan book by $138.2 million to $289.4 million,
largely as a result of the Ubiquity Bank acquisition (which closed on
October 1) and through other new loan growth. Specific loan losses remain
lower than budgeted for the year.

    Western Life Assurance

    Premium income at Western Life grew by 19.6% while operating income
surged by 57.3%.

    Equity Investments

    Western Financial Group's portfolio of equity investments performed well
with Jennings Capital, H.E.D. and Harvard Western all exceeding budget

    Conference Call

    Western Financial Group will host a conference call to discuss the
Company's 2007 year end results on Friday, March 28, 2008 at 9:00 AM Mountain
time (11:00 AM Eastern time). To participate in the live conference call,
please dial either (416) 644-3420 or (800) 731-5774. A replay of the call will
be available from March 28, 2008 at 11:00 AM MT until April 11, 2008 at
11:59 PM MT. To access the replay please dial either (416) 640-1917 or (877)
289-8525 and enter the passcode 21265623 followed by the pound sign. The
conference will also be broadcast live over the internet and archived through
the Company's website at www.westernfinancialgroup.net.

    Western Financial Group is a leader in providing insurance, financial
services and banking services in over 80 communities, to more than
400,000 individuals and businesses in Western Canada through its WFG Agency
Network locations, its affiliated insurance brokers, Western Life Assurance
Company and Bank West.
    The Company's Financial Report for the year ended December 31, 2007 will
be filed on SEDAR on or before March 21, 2008.

    Forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions, risks and
uncertainties, including the risk that prediction and other forward-looking
statements may not prove to be accurate. We caution the reader not to place
undue reliance on these disclosures, as a number of important factors could
cause actual results to differ materially from the estimates and comments
expressed in them. Such factors may include, but are not limited to: changing
financial and economic conditions in Canada, particularly in Western Canada;
regulatory developments; competition industry trends and availability of
capital resources; and our anticipated success in managing our risks. We
caution readers that the foregoing list is not exhaustive. Except required by
law, we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, written or
oral, that we may make from time to time regarding our operations and

For further information:

For further information: Arlene Beggs, Assistant to the President,
Western Financial Group, (403) 652-2663, info@westernfinancialgroup.net

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Western Financial Group

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