Marshall & Ilsley Corp. said Monday that it had sold a pool of troubled home loans in a move that bodes well for the Milwaukee company and for other lenders looking to sell problem assets.

The sale of 800 mortgages — mostly on single-family homes in Arizona — is a boon for M&I, as it clears its books of about $297 million of housing loans that could continue to sour as unemployment rises. It's good for the industry because it shows that demand might be picking up for the kinds of troubled assets that banks, for the most part, have had a hard time unloading.

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