WaMu Gets Downgraded

Citing a worse mortgage market than expected even two months ago, Standard & Poor's has lowered the long-term counterparty credit ratings of Washington Mutual Inc., Seattle, and Washington Mutual Bank.

WaMu is the nation's fifth largest mortgage servicer.

WaMu's counterparty rating was downgraded from BBB+ to BBB, and WaMu Bank's was downgraded from A- to BBB+. S&P also placed all its WaMu ratings on CreditWatch with negative implications.

"We now believe that the severity of losses on all residential mortgages will be higher than we had thought and that the weak housing market will now be a longer cycle," said S&P credit analyst Victoria Wagner.

S&P said it also has a more negative view of the overall economy, which could "push loan losses and loan delinquencies much higher than we previously factored into the WaMu ratings."

Despite the downgrades, S&P said WaMu "has made significant strides at shoring up bank and holding-company liquidity and has substantial liquidity at the holding company to meet all of its fixed-income and dividend obligations through the next few years." (c) 2008 Mortgage Servicing News and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.mortgageservicingnews.com/ http://www.sourcemedia.com/

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