borrowers through a program involving banks, a nonprofit housing agency, and a leading mortgage insurance company. The initiative, led by Neighborhood Housing Services of America, focuses on minority and inner city residents who are often shunned by lenders. To make mortgage loans more attractive to banks, Neighborhood Housing Services has teamed up with PMI Mortgage Insurance Co. to share the risk. The housing group and PMI use a "layered co-insurance" agreement in which they both assume the risk of default and the responsibility for paying claims to lenders. The arrangement allows PMI to provide borrowers with more flexible underwriting standards and reduced mortgage insurance rates, a spokeswoman for the company said. The program includes pre-loan counseling, a step that administrators credit for a lack of defaults by borrowers who have already participated in the program. The latest round of financing will help increase the program to more than $100 million of financing, Neighborhood Services believes. The alliance is "one of affordable housing's real success stories," said W. Roger Haughton, PMI's president and chief executive.

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