American Banker in its Pipeline reported that two mortgage insurers have recently been given the OK to keep writing new business even if their risk-to-capital ratios exceed the 25-to-1 maximum permitted in 16 states.

In a regulatory filing Tuesday, MGIC Investment Corp. said Freddie Mac granted a newly formed subsidiary approval to write new business in those states in the case its main operating unit fails to meet capital requirements. The waiver is good through 2012.

The subsidiary, MGIC Indemnity Corp., had already received similar approval from Fannie Mae and the parent company's main regulator, the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, has waived the capital requirements.

Obtaining GSE approvals is essential for any new mortgage vendor because the two, today, account for roughly 70% of all originations.

Also this week, PMI Group said Fannie Mae granted a subsidiary approval to write business. The Arizona Department of Insurance, the company's primary regulator, said it would permit PMI's main operating subsidiary to write insurance in that state even if it fell below capital requirements.

In other mortgage insurer news, National Mortgage News' online edition reported that Essent Guaranty, the upstart mortgage insurer, is expected to announce Thursday that it has received approvals to write coverage on mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, sources close to the company confirmed.

A spokeswoman for the Radnor, Pa.-based Essent would not comment except to say the privately held firm is "building toward opening up its business operations."

In December, Essent completed its purchase of technology and operating assets from Triad Guaranty of Winston-Salem, an MI that is in wind-down mode.

Essent paid roughly $30 million in cash for Triad's operating platform while agreeing to assume some of its contractual obligations related to software usage.

Essent is expected to write its first MI policy some time in the second quarter, a spokeswoman said. Its management includes former top executives from Radian Guaranty as well as Fannie Mae.

One official cautioned that even though the announcement is slated for Thursday, it could be pushed back to Friday or even early next week.

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