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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades jointly supported LOC-backed U.S. municipal debt; 643 ratings and $37 billion of debt affected

Global Credit Research - 21 Sep 2010

New York, September 21, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the long-term ratings of 642 letter of credit (LOC)-backed U.S. municipal debt obligations. Of these, 511 were downgraded by one notch, 98 by two notches, and 33 by three notches. One rating was confirmed. None of the bonds' short-term ratings were affected. A full list of ratings affected is available on Moody's website at http://v3.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBM_PBM127608.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The rating actions are in connection with a review initiated on September 1 when Moody's announced an update to its methodology for the way it rates jointly supported LOC-backed debt. The downgrades do not affect the underlying ratings of the affected transactions' obligors and they do not reflect the rating agency's opinion of the obligors' credit quality.

Moody's updated methodology extends the joint default analysis (or JDA) used to rate other sectors to LOC-backed debt. JDA looks at the probability of default of the obligor and of the bank providing the letter of credit, and the default dependence between the two entities. The approach recognizes the potential benefit of dual support and, as such, transactions may achieve a long-term rating that is higher than that of either the obligor or the LOC bank by up to two notches.

The JDA approach is only applicable where a Moody's rated obligor and LOC provider are equally obligated to pay principal and interest when due and the provisions of the transaction document support such structure. As such, the JDA approach is applied to less than 18% of the number of Moody's rated LOC backed transactions in the public finance sector.

The new approach applies Moody's four-year global idealized default rates in the determination of the standalone credit risk of the obligor and the LOC bank. These default rates correspond to both entities' global scale ratings and are consistent with the rates used in applying JDA in other sectors.

The updated methodology also introduces an enhanced framework for determining default dependence. The recent economic cycle has demonstrated the increased interconnectedness between the banking sector and obligors in the U.S. municipal market, particularly those obligors with variable rate debt.

The ratings on 243 transactions put under review for downgrade on September 1 in connection with the release of the updated methodology continue to be under review.

In addition, of the 642 transactions downgraded, the ratings of 102 transactions will remain under review for further possible downgrade. The current ratings for these transactions reflect the application of the updated methodology. The ongoing reviews are prompted by the fact that the LOC providers or the obligors of the transactions are currently under review for downgrade.

In addition, certain transactions supported by California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS) or California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) Credit Enhancement Programs were placed under review on December 10, 2009 ,when those programs were downgraded to Aa3. Moody's undertook a review of the default dependence on state and local California municipal debt transactions that were supported by LOCs provided by CalPERS or CalSTRS. Today's rating actions reflect the conclusion of the review for some of these transactions, as well as the application of the updated JDA methodology.

In the last three weeks, the ratings of an additional four transactions that had been placed under review for downgrade on September 1 were reviewed and rated based on the new JDA methodology in connection with letter of credit substitutions.

Methodology

The principal methodology used in rating these transactions is Applying Global Joint Default Analysis to Letter of Credit-Backed Transactions in the U.S. Public Finance Sector, published on September 1, 2010. Other methodologies and factors that may have been considered in the process of rating this issuer can also be found on Moody's website.

Rating Sensitivities

As the long-term ratings on these transactions are determined in part by the probability of default of the LOC provider and the obligor, an upgrade or downgrade of the ratings of either or both of these entities could result in a upgrade or downgrade of the transactions' ratings. Likewise, as the default dependence between the LOC provider and the obligor is another important input into the rating, a decrease in default dependence could result in an upgrade, and an increase could result in a downgrade.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the credit rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings and public information.

Moody's Investors Service considers the quality of information available on the issuer or obligation satisfactory for the purposes of maintaining a credit rating.

* * * * *

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information please contact New York Press Information +1-212-553-0376; EMEA Press Information in London +44-20-7772-5456; 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 +7-495-228-60-60; 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 3758 1350; 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

MOODY'S adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and from sources MOODY'S considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, MOODY'S is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on Moodys.com for the last rating action and the rating history.

The date on which some Credit Ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's Investors Service's Credit Ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's Investors Service provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see the ratings disclosure page on our website www.moodys.com for further information.

Please see the Credit Policy page on Moodys.com for the methodologies used in determining ratings, further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

New York
Robert Azrin
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Structured Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Naomi Richman
Senior Vice President - Team Leader
Public Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Moody's Investors Service
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
USA

Moody's downgrades jointly supported LOC-backed U.S. municipal debt; 643 ratings and $37 billion of debt affected
No Related Data.
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Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation (“MCO”), hereby discloses that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. have, prior to assignment of any rating, agreed to pay to Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. for appraisal and rating services rendered by it fees ranging from $1,500 to approximately $2,500,000. MCO and MIS also maintain policies and procedures to address the independence of MIS’s ratings and rating processes. Information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities, and between entities who hold ratings from MIS and have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%, is posted annually at www.moodys.com under the heading “Investor Relations — Corporate Governance — Director and Shareholder Affiliation Policy.”

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Additional terms for Japan only: Moody's Japan K.K. (“MJKK”) is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Group Japan G.K., which is wholly-owned by Moody’s Overseas Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCO. Moody’s SF Japan K.K. (“MSFJ”) is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of MJKK. MSFJ is not a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (“NRSRO”). Therefore, credit ratings assigned by MSFJ are Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings. Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings are assigned by an entity that is not a NRSRO and, consequently, the rated obligation will not qualify for certain types of treatment under U.S. laws. MJKK and MSFJ are credit rating agencies registered with the Japan Financial Services Agency and their registration numbers are FSA Commissioner (Ratings) No. 2 and 3 respectively.

MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) hereby disclose that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) have, prior to assignment of any rating, agreed to pay to MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) for appraisal and rating services rendered by it fees ranging from JPY200,000 to approximately JPY350,000,000.

MJKK and MSFJ also maintain policies and procedures to address Japanese regulatory requirements.