More Financial News

State waives restrictions for MGIC to write new mortgage insurance; Fiserv launches vertical Visa cards; Baird-advised public finance deal awarded “Nontraditional Financing Deal of the Year”

State waives restrictions for MGIC to write new mortgage insurance

Milwaukee-based MGIC Investment Corp.’s principal subsidiary Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corp. announced that the state’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has waived, until Dec. 31, 2011, the requirement that MGIC maintain a specific level of minimum regulatory capital to write new mortgage guaranty policies.

The waiver is a further step in implementing the company’s plan to continue to write new business through a combination of MGIC and its wholly owned subsidiary, MGIC Indemnity Corp. (MIC).

The OCI also approved a change in MIC’s business plan under which MIC will write new business only in jurisdictions where MGIC does not meet minimum capital requirements similar to those waived by the OCI and does not obtain a waiver of those requirements from that jurisdiction’s regulatory authority.

In addition to Wisconsin, 16 other jurisdictions have such minimum capital requirements while the remaining jurisdictions in which MGIC does business do not have specific capital requirements applicable to mortgage insurers. The waiver may be modified, terminated, or extended by the OCI in its sole discretion.

Curt Culver, chief executive officer and chairman of the board of MGIC and MGIC Investment Corp., said the OCI’s actions are an important step in enabling the company to support the U.S. housing market by continuing to write new insurance on a nationwide basis. Culver said he appreciates the efforts of the OCI in reviewing and approving the revised business plan and the waiver.

As previously disclosed, Fannie Mae approved MIC as an eligible insurer through Dec. 31, 2011, in the jurisdictions in which MIC may write insurance under its changed business plan approved by the OCI. MGIC is still working with Freddie Mac to obtain approval of MIC as an eligible insurer.

Fiserv launches vertical Visa cards

Fiserv Inc., the Brookfield-based global provider of financial services technology solutions, has introduced a new vertical-format Visa card, an innovative design option that displays all card information vertically rather than horizontally.

The breakthrough design captures cardholder interest and provides a new way to showcase an issuer’s logo, the company said.

“Fiserv is continually innovating to deliver product and service enhancements that help clients differentiate their card offerings and grow transaction volumes," said Jorge Diaz, division president of output solutions for Fiserv. "Our clients are looking for creative ideas that stimulate card activation rates. Vertical cards have visual uniqueness to attract cardholders and encourage increased usage."

The vertical cards are one of several innovations from Fiserv in recent years, including:

The Card Collection, an exclusive offering of 78 card designs that reflect a broad range of lifestyle themes, money motifs and regional images. Pay-as-you-go ordering eliminates inventory carrying expense and risk of obsolescence.

MyCardCreation makes it simple and affordable for cardholders to create cards with their own pictures on them.

Contactless Cards, which can speed up checkout and maximize convenience by enabling a cardholder to simply hold the card near a terminal or tap the terminal instead of swiping the card.

"The key to increasing transaction revenue is giving cardholders the kinds of cards they’ll reach to use over and over," Diaz said. “Fiserv continues to add equipment, processes and technology to provide innovative solutions – like the exciting new vertical cards – to please cardholders and help our clients achieve their card program goals."

Baird-advised public finance deal awarded “Nontraditional Financing Deal of the Year”

Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird & Co. was recently awarded “Nontraditional Financing Deal of the Year” by The Bond Buyer, a national newspaper that covers the municipal bond industry. Baird served as financial advisor to the city of Detroit, negotiating the elimination of a $400 million swap termination payment.

“This award is another great example of Baird’s top-notch expertise and client service,” said Keith Kolb, Baird’s director of public finance. “Despite the daunting situation, we helped our clients find a workable solution that effectively met their financing needs.”

In 2006, Detroit entered into a $800 million interest rate swap deal. But after the sub-prime mortgage crisis and financial crisis exploded in the fall of 2008, the major bond insurers were downgraded in 2008. Then, in January 2009, the city was downgraded below investment grade by the rating agencies, triggering a swap termination event that required a $400 million termination payment from the city. Baird helped the city eliminate the $400 million payment by identifying a source of existing, recurring revenue to be used for annual swap payments.  


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