COLUMBUS, Ind. - Irwin Financial Corp. has announced a 22.2% increase in its dividend, an addition to its board of directors, and the establishment of its fifth principal operating subsidiary, Irwin Home Equity Corp.

Irwin's first-quarter dividend of 11 cents per share, is payable on March 24 to shareholders of record as of March 10.

In addition, Sally Abrams Dean, an independent financial consultant and retired senior vice president of Dillon, Read & Co., has been elected to the company's board of directors, which now numbers 11.

Further, Irwin has opened Irwin Home Equity, San Ramon, Calif. The subsidiary will market home equity loans nationally to a select group of homeowners through direct mail and telemarketing. The loans may be held in portfolio or pooled, packaged, or sold in securitized form. Irwin intends to retain the servicing on the loans it originates.

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