The Montgomery County, Md., Housing Opportunity Commission yesterday pulled off a Houdini-like escape, rescuing its $53.2 million housing bonds from a Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co.-inspired default.

The Maryland issuer succeeded in acquiring a letter of credit from General Electric Capital Corp. The housing commission then called all the bonds at par, refinanced the issue with a "multi-modal" annual put bond, and sold a new $48.22 million issue to institutional investors.

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