Irwin loses $94 million in first quarter-WEB ONLY

Columbus-based Irwin Financial Corp. said today it lost $94 million, or $3.07 per share, in the first quarter due to costs related to the company’s restructuring.

The deficit compares with a loss of $22 million, or 77 cents per share, in the same period a year ago, but is less than the $104 million it lost in the fourth quarter.

The company, which operates Irwin Union bank branches in Indianapolis, Carmel, Avon, Franklin and Shelbyville, is continuing to implement a restructuring plan that focuses on small business and community banking.

In March, Irwin sold its home-equity business to St. Paul, Minn.-based Green Tree Servicing LLC, which removed $690 million of home-equity loans from Irwin’s balance sheets.

“We believe the home equity sale is a very positive development for Irwin,” company CEO Will Miller said in a written statement. “We continue to pursue the only remaining step in our restructuring – raising additional capital.”

Irwin said it wants to raise $50 million to strengthen its balance sheet. The company has agreements with a group of investors, led by Cummins Inc., to provide $34 million in financial help. Cummins, also based in Columbus, agreed in October to buy $25 million of Irwin stock to support the bank’s restructuring plan.

Irwin’s financial heath is a concern to outside auditor Ernst & Young LLP, which has raised doubts about the bank’s ability to remain in business while it restructures.

In the company’s annual report, released March 31, Ernst &Young said “certain matters raise substantial doubt about [Irwin’s] ability to continue as a going concern. [The company has] been significantly and negatively impacted by the events and conditions impacting the banking industry.”

Irwin Union Bank dates to the mid-19th century and has long-standing ties to Cummins. Deceased Irwin Chairman J. Irwin Miller, a great-grandson of bank founder Joseph Ireland Irwin, also was chairman of Cummins.

Miller, who died in 2004, was the father of Will Miller.

Shares of Irwin were trading at $1.35 late this morning, down 6 percent from their opening price.

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