PHILADELPHIA — The private mortgage insurer Radian Group Inc. said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter net income was $64.4 million, up nearly 37% from the year-earlier period.

On a per-share basis, earnings rose 33%, to $1.66. For the full year, Radian’s net income rose 68%, to $248.9 million, or $6.44 a share.

But Radian’s primary delinquency rate was 2.39% as of Dec. 31, against 2.2% a year earlier. In addition, direct claims paid during the fourth quarter rose 2%, to $21.1 million.

New primary insurance written in the quarter was $7.3 billion, versus $6.5 billion in the year-earlier quarter, and fell to $24.9 billion, from $33.3 billion, for the full year. Persistency was 78.2% as of Dec. 31, 2000, compared with 75% a year earlier and 79.4% last Sept. 30.

Also Wednesday, the private mortgage insurer PMI Group Inc. of San Francisco announced that net income for the fourth quarter rose 16%, to $66 million. Earnings per share increased 24%, to $1.57. For the year net income rose 27%, to $260.2 million, or $5.85 per share.

At the same time, PMI announced revised its outlook for 2001, reporting that operating earnings will likely range between $6.75 and $6.95 per share, 15% over last year. The company previously announced that operating earnings per share would likely increase 17% to 19% over 2000 earnings.

The change reflects the PMI’s estimate of the impact of expected mortgage interest rates and residential mortgage originations for 2001 on PMI’s policy persistency, premiums earned, and contract underwriting expenses.

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