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Credit Union M.I. Firm's Future Uncertain

Fitch downgrades financial strength rating of CMG Mortgage Insurance

Dec. 9, 2009

By MortgageDaily.com staff


The outlook for a mortgage insurance company that caters to credit unions has been downgraded.

Fitch Ratings announced today that it downgraded CMG Mortgage Insurance Co.'s insurer financial strength rating to BBB from A+.

An increase in prime mortgage delinquency was cited by the ratings agency. The deterioration is expected to have a negative impact on capitalization.

Still, Fitch indicated that CMG's primary default rate remains well below the rate of its peers because of its niche: insuring credit union originations

The San Francisco-based mortgage insurer was launched in 1994 as a joint venture between PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. and CUNA Mutual Insurance Society. It issued just $0.5 billion in policies during the third quarter, tumbling from $1.1 billion in the prior quarter and $1.5 billion a year earlier.

In its outlook, Fitch noted it unlikely that either PMI or CUNA Mutual will contribute any capital to CMG.

"CMG is operationally dependent on PMI, and this raises uncertainty regarding CMG's operational stability and infrastructure in a scenario where PMI is placed into runoff," Fitch stated. "CMG's ability to write new business has been constrained by its increasing risk-to-capital ratio."

That ratio was 16.8:1 as of Sept. 30. The two parent companies are subject to a capital call if CMG's risk-to-capital ratio reaches 19:1.
.

"The negative outlook reflects continued uncertainty with respect to the mortgage insurance industry in general," the ratings agency concluded. "In the case of CMG, a further downgrade could result should delinquencies increase significantly beyond their current levels, or if material operational interruptions are experienced in an event where PMI enters runoff."

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