Genworth Financial Inc.'s mortgage insurance unit removed 136 metropolitan areas from its "Declining/Distressed Markets" list, a step that will effectively loosen loan-to-value requirements and FICO scores for certain borrowers.

The changes took effect Monday. Last week the Richmond, Va., company would not identify the markets removed from the list. A spokesman said that the metropolitan areas are on an "internal site and protected, so they can't be copied."

However, Genworth has told its lender clients that 14 states "in their entirety" will remain on the list: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah and Vermont.

In Arizona, California, Florida and Nevada, the minimum FICO score to get a Genworth policy is 720. In California, Genworth will not insure loan amounts above $417,000.

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