Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ratings Cut for Mortgage Insurers

by Bill McBride on 2/17/2009 10:51:00 AM

Tanta used to joke "It's not a real estate bust until a mortgage insurer goes down". Of course Triad went down last year ...

From the WSJ: Moody's Slashes Ratings on Mortgage Insurers (ht Shnaps)

Ratings on MGIC Investment Corp. and Radian Group Inc. were cut Friday several notches to junk status because of what Moody's called deterioration in their franchise value, the likelihood of sustained losses for several years and substantially limited access to capital.

Moody's said MGIC's losses in the past year are putting "meaningful capital strain" on the company, which could breach maximum statutory risk to capital guidelines in the next 12 to 18 months without additional capital injections.

It downgraded the insurance-financial-strength ratings of MGIC units seven notches to Ba2, or slightly speculative, and MGIC's senior-debt ratings seven notches to B2, or speculative.
...
The rating agency also cut the insurance-financial-strength ratings of Radian's mortgage-insurance units seven notches to Ba3 and the insurance unit's insurance-financial-strength rating six notches to B1.
The mortgage insurers were cut out of the worst deals (lucky for them!), because Wall Street happily securitized 100% financing with 2nds and no MI. But the losses are still piling up.