Private mortgage insurers back in black post-crash

There are now six private mortgage insurers, which together wrote nearly $49 billion in new business in the second quarter, up 27 percent from the first quarter, according to data from Inside Mortgage Finance.

Of the publicly traded insurers, MGIC, Genworth and United Guaranty (part of AIG), reported positive income, with Radian still trying to break out of negative territory. Privately held Essent Guaranty, a newbie, is coming on strong, with $10 billion in new business through the first half, versus $3.6 billion in the year-earlier period, according to IMF.

“Delinquencies are down, and the companies have recapitalized,” said Bose George, an analyst at Keefe Bruyette Woods. “At the same time, FHA is reducing its role in the market, so this has given them significant growth opportunities. … The companies have reversed their position and are starting to show modest profitability.”

(Read more: Mortgage delinquencies take a sharp turn up)

The private insurers have also benefited from the government housing bailout—the refinance program for underwater borrowers as well as the Home Affordable Modification Program. Both help borrowers make their monthly payments and stay current on their loans, although HAMP has come under fire recently as a report from the Troubled Asset Relief Program’s inspector general found the program had a high re-default rate.

Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100956144

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