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Announcement:

Moody's: Private student loan defaults decline in first quarter, new indices show

11 Apr 2011

New York, April 11, 2011 -- To help market participants assess the performance of securitizations of private student loans, Moody's Investors Service is launching today a series of private student loan credit indices, to be updated quarterly. For first-quarter 2011, Moody's Private Student Loan Indices show continuing decline in defaults and delinquencies on securitized private student loans.

The Private Student Loan Indices track nine years of credit performance data on over 60 private student loan securitizations that Moody's rates, representing $39 billion in outstanding pool balance. Because private loan pools vary considerably in credit performance, the indices provide a benchmark for relative comparisons among issuers and individual transactions. The indices weight each securitization equally.

"These Private Student Loan Indices standardize the calculations of various performance metrics derived from the analysis of the securitized private loan pools," said Tracy Rice, a Moody's Assistant Vice President and Analyst.

For the first quarter, the Indices place the annualized default rate at 4.8%, down from 5.0% a year ago, marking the fifth consecutive quarter of year-over-year decline. Moody's expects the annualized default rate index to reach 4%-4.25% by year end and then to drop slightly more in 2012 before stabilizing at roughly 3.5%-4%, provided loan forbearance remains at roughly current rates.

Although its current 4.8% measure is the lowest since the first quarter of 2008, the default rate index remains well above its levels during the 2004-6 period.

"Default rates will remain well above the rates of 2004-6 until unemployment improves markedly, albeit on a lagged basis," said Moody's Rice. "The pace of improvement in unemployment combined with the natural aging or 'seasoning' of the loan pools backing the transactions will drive the magnitude of the decline."

A strong indication that the default rate will be declining is the improvement in the rate that loans are delinquent. Moody's 90-Plus Delinquency Rate Index dropped to 2.9%, in the first quarter of 2011 down from 3.6% a year ago. It was the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement.

Meanwhile, the forbearance rate reached an all-time low of 4.1% in the first quarter, a manifestation of tighter forbearance policies that some issuers have introduced over the past three years. Forbearance rates will remain at current historically low levels as long as issuers' forbearance policies remain constant, says Moody's.

The Moody's report "Moody's New Private Student Loan Indices Show Improving Performance, More Improvement Ahead " is available on Moodys.com.

* * * * *

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: New York +1-212-553-0376, London +44-20-7772-5456, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com

New York
Tracy Rice
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Structured Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Sarah Huang
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Structured Finance Group

Moody's Investors Service
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's: Private student loan defaults decline in first quarter, new indices show
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