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Announcement:

Moody's: Guarantors' Legacy Risks Hinder Recovery, Despite Encouraging Signs

23 Feb 2010

New York, February 23, 2010 -- In a new report, Moody's Investors Service states that the outlook is negative for the battered financial guarantor industry. The rating agency did, however, recognize certain encouraging signs, such as the resilient demand for bond insurance in some public finance market segments and early successes for some guarantors in remediating losses.

Moody's emphasizes that the challenges facing some existing guarantors remain substantial, including significant credit losses, weakened market confidence, limited liquidity, litigation risk, and regulatory uncertainty. Regulators have demonstrated a willingness to work with guarantors to alleviate capital pressures, and they have encouraged some companies to settle potential claims with their counterparties. However, one cannot expect regulators to show continued forbearance if severe capital deterioration persists; in fact, they ordered two companies to suspend claims payments in 2009.

Although Moody's overall outlook for the financial guaranty industry is negative, company-specific considerations, such as credit performance, capital and liquidity positions, have led to various individual company ratings outlooks, ranging from developing to negative. "We expect existing guarantors to continue facing an evolving environment in 2010, with some uncertainties abating," said the report's co-author, Senior Analyst Helen Remeza, adding that "we may reposition the ratings if there is more clarity about ultimate losses, including the effects of loan put-backs, negotiated settlements and litigations."

"This year will better define the future of the industry," said the analyst, "as losses crystallize, corporate restructuring continues to unfold, and competitive dynamics evolves further." In addition, she noted: "This year may also witness the entry of new guarantors, lured by the absence of competition, the current lack of alternative credit-enhancement solutions, and the continued demand from smaller and higher risk municipal issuers."

The rating agency believes that there is greater receptivity for guarantors with higher risk profiles than in the past. However, there is also a lower perceived value of their insurance -- and thus narrower market opportunities. Should asset spreads normalize and competitive pressures increase, this situation may weaken guarantors' future pricing power and profitability.

"Nevertheless," concludes Ms. Remeza, "bond insurance appears to fill market needs; as seen in 2009, some public finance issuers and investors continued to utilize bond insurance". However, insurer penetration was down to 8.6% in 2009, from more than 50% a few years back, reflecting both the lower supply of financial guaranty insurance and the lessened demand for the product.

The report is titled , "Financial Guaranty Insurance Industry: 2009 Review and 2010 Outlook"

* * *

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For a copy of this report, please contact New York Press Information +1-212-553-0376; or EMEA Press Information in London +44-20-7772-5456. Also contact: Juan Pablo Soriano in Madrid +34-91-310-1454; Alex Cataldo in Milan +39-02-914-81-100; Eric de Bodard in Paris +331-5330-1076; Detlef Scholz in Frankfurt +49-69-707-30-700; Mardig Haladjian in Limassol +357-25-586-586; Alex Sazhin in Moscow +7495-228-6060; Petr Vins in Prague +4202 2422 2929; Tokyo Press

Information +813-5408-4110; Hilary Parkes in Toronto +1-416-214-1635; Hong Kong Press Information +852-2916-1150; Hector Lim in Sydney +612

9270 8102; Luiz Tess in São Paulo +5511-3043-7300; Alberto Jones Tamayo

in Mexico City +5255-1253-5700; Daniel Rúas in Buenos Aires +54

11-4816-2332 ext. 105; Craig Jamieson in Johannesburg +27-11-217-5470; Jehad el-Nakla in Dubai +971 4 401 9536; or visit our web site at

www.moodys.com

New York
Helen Remeza
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Stanislas Rouyer
Senior Vice President
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's: Guarantors' Legacy Risks Hinder Recovery, Despite Encouraging Signs
No Related Data.
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