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Mortgage Insurers Turn in Weak Performance

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Mortgage insurers issued fewer policies last month, though the dollar volume rose. Business for all 12 months worsened from 2009, and a monthly deterioration in defaults was noted.

The number of mortgage insurance policies issued during December declined to 31,879 from November’s 32,993, data released Monday by the Mortgage Insurance Companies of America indicated. But the dollar volume of policies written rose to $8.6 billion from the $7.5 billion issued a month earlier.

Statistics were derived from data submitted by MICA members Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corp., Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp., PMI Mortgage Insurance Co., Radian Guaranty Inc., Republic Mortgage Insurance Co. and United Guaranty Corp.

Activity this month might have eased based on new mortgage insurance applications, which fell to 37,140 from November’s 39,531.

Closed business was better than in December 2009, when mortgage insurers wrote just 19,989 policies for only $5.1 billion.

The industry generated 337,026 policies for $75.3 billion during all of 2010, stepping back from 442,224 policies issued for $80.9 billion in 2009.

But the 7 percent annual decline in dollar volume was not as bad as the 17 percent drop reported by the Federal Housing Administration for calendar 2010.

During 2010, around $1.525 trillion in residential mortgages were closed by all lenders, compared to around $1.970 originated during 2009. Based on those figures, FHA market share increased to around 20 percent last year from roughly 19 percent in 2009. Private mortgage insurers’ market share grew to 5 percent from 4 percent.

Primary insurance in force descended to $753.0 billion from $759.2 billion at the end of November. On Dec. 31, 2009, the balance stood at $863.4 billion.

Primary insurance defaults were worse — rising to 63,519 in December from the previous month’s 61,262. Defaults were better, however, than 85,603 reported for the final month of 2009.

Meanwhile, primary insurance cures dropped to 50,707, MICA said, from 58,015 a month earlier and 61,032 a year earlier.

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