Irwin Financial Corp., Columbus, Ind., has reported net income of $3.6 million ($0.13 per share) for the first quarter, compared with $14.4 million ($0.48 per share) a year earlier, a decline it attributed chiefly to a loss in its mortgage banking operations.The mortgage banking segment recorded a $9.6 million loss in the first quarter, compared with net income of $9.7 million in the first quarter of 2004, the company reported. "Like many in the industry, we have found it difficult to reduce the size of operations after the refinance boom of 2001-2003 in a rapid enough fashion to align with the reduced margins of the past several quarters," said Will Miller, Irwin Financial's chairman. He noted that interest rates had fallen rapidly, prompting Irwin to reposition its hedges, but then rebounded, driving the company's servicing values above the "lower of cost or market" cap under generally accepted accounting principles. "The economic value of our servicing rights continued to rise and would have offset the hedge losses had we been allowed to book the increase in value under GAAP," Mr. Miller said. The company can be found online at http://www.irwinfinancial.com.

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