I’ll now turn the call over to Arbor’s President and CEO, Ivan Kaufman.
Thank you, Paul, and thanks to everyone for joining us on today’s call. Before Paul takes you through the financial results, I would like to reflect on some of our recent accomplishments and talk about our operating philosophy and outlook for the remainder of 2012.
First and foremost, as we announced today in our press release, we are extremely pleased to have reinstated our dividend for the first quarter. As we mentioned on our last several calls, one of our primary goals was to return to a dividend-paying stock and continue to grow our core earnings and dividend over time.
The first quarter dividend of $0.075 per common share demonstrates the success we have had in continuing to grow our core lending business and core earnings. In a moment, Paul will elaborate further on how the effectiveness of our franchise has positioned us to increase our projected core earnings run rate.
Clearly, the steps we took over the last several years transformed our entire balance sheet. Ridding ourselves of our short-term recourse legacy debt while retaining a substantial amount of our equity value with liquidity were critical in paving the way for us to once again become an active participant in commercial mortgage lending and increase our core earnings and reinstate our dividend.
We have maintained a very deep and versatile originations platform, both through our manager as well as in the REIT, and we are extremely pleased with the investment opportunities we are seeing to grow our platform, diversify our revenue sources, and produce significant core earnings going forward. Our infrastructure is well-positioned to manage our anticipated growth without significantly increasing our core structure, resulting in direct bottom line profitability.
In the first quarter, we originated seven loans totaling approximately $40 million with a weighted average unleveraged yield of approximately 7.7% and a weighted average leveraged yield of approximately 20%. We also purchased nine residential mortgage securities in the first quarter totaling $46 million with a weighted average yield of approximately 6% and an expected leverage return in excess of 20%.