Fremont General Corp., the country's third-largest subprime lender and the originator behind the first 2006 vintage collateral to receive negative rating action, announced late last week it would delay its fourth quarter earnings announcement and annual report filing.

Fitch Ratings downgraded the subprime lender's corporate debt rating from BB-' to B+' with negative watch on the news and Standard & Poor's placed the company on a negative credit watch. The company posted dismal third quarter earnings and, subsequently, executives promised to tighten underwriting standards.

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