Industry NewsMortgage

Radian to raise down-payment requirements, ban alt-A loans

Mortgage insurer latest to tighten underwriting standards

Radian Guaranty Inc. is the latest private mortgage insurer to tighten underwriting standards, with a moratorium on loans with down payments of less than 3 percent kicking in March 31, and a ban on stated-income and stated-asset loans scheduled to begin April 30. Like competitors including PMI and MGIC, Radian has also adopted more stringent standards in declining markets where prices are falling. Beginning March 31, Radian said maximum loan-to-value ratios will be increased to 97 percent nationwide. For full-documentation nonconforming loans, a minimum FICO score of 680 will be required to obtain mortgage insurance when loan-to-value ratios fall between 95 percent and 97 percent. Radian will no longer insure negatively amortizing loans after that date, the company said in a March 7 bulletin. Radian will continue to insure subprime loans, but borrowers must have FICO scores of 660 or better, and minimum 5 percent down-payment requirements instituted Feb. 1 remain in forc...