Irwin Financial Corp. said Wednesday it will be able to remove $690 million in home equity loan assets from its balance sheet in the first quarter and improve its capital ratios as a result of an asset sale that closed Tuesday.

The company also said Wednesday it posted a $340 million loss ($11.60 earnings per share loss) for 2008 and a $104 million ($3.54 EPS loss) in the fourth quarter alone.

Chairman and chief executive office Will Miller said the improvement in capital ratios slated for the first quarter stems from the sale of mortgage servicing rights and certain platform assets.

The MSRs and assets are related to securitized home equity loans sold to Green Tree Servicing, he said. As a result of the sale and Securities and Exchange Commission guidance, Irwin said it reclassified the home equity loans as held-for-sale as of the third quarter of 2008 and restated 3Q08 earnings.

The sale is part of the company's exit from national mortgage and home equity lending in favor of a shift to small business lending and community banking that began last April.

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