WASHINGTON - A subsidiary of Moody's Investors Service said it will launch today a product that it claims will be the first step toward the securitization of middle-market commercial loans.

The product, RiskCalc Private Model, is a Web-based program that estimates the probability that a private firm will default on a loan. Its developers used a database of 28,000 private firms' financial statements and 1,600 private firms' loan defaults to flag characteristics common to bad loans.

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