The troubles at Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. have jeopardized the credit quality of 60 tax-exempt bond issues totaling $815 million.

The bonds were guaranteed by the life insurer and until this week had A ratings from Standard & Poor's Corp. But after Mutual Benefit opted for regulatory custodianship on Monday, Standard & Poor's pulled all of the ratings and replaced them with the designation "NR," or not rated.

A sampling of issuers who bought Mutual Benefit guarantees for their bonds found that the projects financed by the borrowings were in generally good shape. Municipal finance officials said the revenue streams and timely payment of principal should be unaffected.

The largest deal to be affected is the $53.2 million Montgomery County, Md., Housing Opportunity Commission's Series 1985 multi-family housing revenue issue. Mary Joe Zenk, manager of budget and loan management at Montgomery Housing, said the situation is "highly unusual."

"The project is doing excellently," Ms. Zenk said. "It's 95% occupied, it has positive cash flow, and it sits on prime real estate.

"We're not sure what this means," she continued. "From the bond ducuments, Mutual Benefit has to notify the [project] owners that there is some problem. As far as we know, that hasn't happened.

"There's a lot of questions right now, and we're having our bond counsel look into it," Ms. Zenk said.

The Oakwood of Gaithersburg project, formerly known as Chase Grove Apartments, has 784 units, 20% of which house low- to moderate-income residents. It also provides dwellings for "executives in transition," she added.

On Tuesday, Judge Paul G. Levy of the Mercer County Superior Court of New Jersey granted a consent order allowing custodianship of Mutual Benefit. The firm needed the drastic action, which effectively places it under regulators' direction, because policyholders were cashing in their contracts out of fear of insolvency.

The panic itself became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the company's directors sought the status to prevent a continuation of the drain on its assets.

Mutual Benefit's tax-exempt guarantees are very similar to bond insurance. If the project finance by the bonds encountered trouble and could not make payment, the life insurer would step in and cover the coupon. But instead, the the insurer encountered trouble, and the ratings on the deals suffered,

At this preliminary stage, analysts were hesitant to predict how the bond guarantees would be treated in the rehabilitatin under New Jersey Commissioner of Insurance Samuel F. Fortunato. In the court filing, it clearly states that Mr. Fortunato has the right to cancel any policies.

"The Rehabilitator shall have the right to cancel any policy where such cancellation is allowable by law," the filing says.

Perhaps the most immediate problems will be found with the variable-rate bonds carrying the insurance. Remarketers are obliged to honor puts -- or payments of par -- at seven days notice on 18 deals totaling $243.8 million.

"The sources of payment are remarketing proceeds, and if there's a shortfall in remarketing proceeds, [the remarketer] turns to the insurer," said Abraham Losice, vice president in the letter of credit ratings froup at Standard & Poor's. "It's unclear at best wheter they'll be able to make payment of any put option."

Wall Street traders yesterday expected many variable-rate holders to cash in as soon as possible. "You can have a great project and nothing to worry about," said a New York trader. "But I'm sure that the people who sold this stuff are getting a lot of calls from institutions and retail investors saying get me out.'"

Few of the bonds had traded since the firm's custodianship, and there was little price movement, according to dealers. "Everyone is digesting what happened," said one New York dealer. "You have to look at these things issue by issue and there are puts that may be affected although the bonds themselves are fine."

Meanwhile, other municipal issuers whose bonds were backed by the insurer were digesting the news. "We are very mucg concerned about it," said Wayne Steele, finance manager for the Broward County, Fla., Housing Finance Authority, which issued $23 million in multifamily housing revenue bonds on April 1, 1985, that were backed by a Mutual Benefit guarantee agreement.

But Mr. Steele said that the Banyan Bay housing project financed by the bonds is operating and occupancy rates are very stable. "No comment has been made to me on how this affects the bond issue," he said.

Tammy Dixon, senior trust officer for Barnett Banks Trust Co. of Jacksonville, Fla. -- the trustee for the Broward County bonds -- said the agreement provides that the bank will step in and draw on the guarantee if the developer does not pay the principal and interest due. But a spokesman for the bank said its outside counsel had concluded that "the bonds are current. There's never to our knowledge been a draw on the guarantor."

"I've had a flurry of calls," said David Bentley, director of financial services for the Texas Housing Agency, which issued $12.25 million in Mutual Benfit-backed multifamily housing revenue bonds in 1985. "I don't see any immediate impact."

Lee Ann Anderson, vice president and trust officer for Team Bank of Forth Worth, said the bank has asked its counsel -- Law, Snkard & Gmbill in Fort worth -- to review the situation. "We're trying to determine if Mutual Benfit seeking protection constitutes an event of default under the financing agreement," she said, noting the housing project is 87.1% occupied. Staff reporter Sean Monsarrat contributed to this story.

Following are the Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Co. guaranted tax-exempt issues. They are currently designated "NR," or not rated, by Standard & Poor's Corp.

* Montgomery County Housing Opportunity Commission, Md., $53.2 million multifamily housing revenue bonds Series 1985 (Chase Grove Apartments) due 12/01/08.

* Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., Metropolitan Industrial Development Board, $7.5 million 7 1/4% adjustable-rate multifamily mortgage revenue bonds Series 1985 due 12/01/01.

* Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., Metropolitan Industrial Development Board. $7.5 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988C due 12/01/07.

* Shelby County, Tenn., Health Education & Housing Facility Board, $21.8 million multifamily mortgage revenue bonds Series 1987A.

* Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., Metropolitan Industrial Development Board, $15.5 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988A due 12/01/05.

* Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., Metropolitan Industrial Development Board, $9.4 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988B due 12/01/05.

* Shelby County, Tenn., Health Education & Housing Facility Board, $17.2 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1990 due 05/01/06.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $18 million 7 1/2% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985W due 07/01/08.

* Roswell Housing Authority, Ga., $13.6 million floating-rate mulrifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988A due 9/01/07.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $9.9 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983A due 02/01/04.

* Harris County, Tex., Housing Finance Corp., $15.5 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1989 due 03/01/07.

* Broward County, Fla., Housing Finance Authority, $23 million 8 1/2% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985 due 04/01/07.

* Howard County, Md., $9.8 million multifamily hoeing revenue refunding bonds Series 1991A due 07/01/07.

* Suffolk, Va., Redevelopment & Housing Authority, $12.4 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1989A due 12/01/05.

* Texas Housing Agency, $13.5 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983B due 03/01/05.

* Cobb County, Ga., Development Authority, $9.7 million 7 5/8% industrial development revenue bonds Series 1985 due 10/01/25.

* Connecticut, $22.2 million adjustable-rate multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985 due 10/01/07.

* Connecticut, $10.2 million adjustable-rate multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985 due 10/01/07.

* Merriam, Kan., $3.9 million 12 1/4% industrial revenue bonds Series 1981 due 10/01/91.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $14.7 million 7 1/2% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985X due 07/01/08.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $2.5 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983B due 02/01/04.

* Texas Housing Agency, $8.3 million 10% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983A due 03/01/05.

* Travis County, Tex., Housing Finance Corp., $10.9 million 9 1/4% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983 due 03/01/05.

* Travis County, Tex., Housing Finance Corp., $10.3 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1989 due 03/01/05.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $16.6 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1984C due 12/01/06.

* Harris County, Tex., Housing Finance Corp., $15.5 million adjustable-rate multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985 due 03/01/07.

* Harris County, Tex., Housing Finance Corp., $10.7 million 9% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1984 due 10/01/08.

* Harris County Housing Finance Corp., $10.2 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988 due 06/01/05.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $12.7 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1989H due 12/01/12.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $6.1 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1990F due 06/01/03.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $6.2 million 9 3/4% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1982B due 12/01/03.

* Broward County, Fla., Housing Finance Authority, $26.6 million 8 7/8% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985 due 10/01/07.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $8.8 million 9% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983C due 02/01/04.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $5.1 million 9 1/2% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983D due 12/01/05.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $5.4 million 8 1/2% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1984D due 12/01/06.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $8.8 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988A due 08/01/04.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $5.1 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983D.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $50.1 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988E due 02/01/05.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $5.4 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988F due 02/01/06.

* Maryland Community Development Administration, $16.8 million adjustable-rate multifamily development revenue bonds Series 985B due 11/01/07.

* Maryland Community Development Administration, $26.8 million adjustable-rate multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985A due 11/01/07.

* GA L.P County Housing Authority, Ga., $21 million 8 1/4% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985E due 09/01/07.

* Ga L.P. County Housing Authority, Ga., $3.2 million variable-rate multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985D due 01/01/08.

* Ga L.P. County Housing Authority, Ga., $18.8 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1988 due 09/01/07.

* Murray, Utah, $6.5 million tax-exempt adjustable mode industrial development revenue refunding bonds Series 1988 due 12/01/01.

* De Kalb County, Ga., Housing Authority, $18.7 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1991 due 12/01/05.

* Harris County, Tex., Housing Finance Corp., $10.7 million multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1990 due 10/01/08.

* Phoenix, Ariz., Industrial Development Authority, $10.3 million adjustable rate multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1984 due 10/01/08.

* Florida Housing Finance Agency, $12.5 million 9 3/4% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1982C due 12/01/03.

* Prince Georges County, Md., $6 million mortgage revenue bonds Series 1984 due 12/17/94.

* San Diego County, Calif., Housing Authority, $36.8 million 8.40% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985F due 07/01/06.

* Shelby County, tenn., Health Education a Housing Facility Board, $21.8 million 8 1/2% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985A due 03/01/06.

* Simi Valley, Calif., $16.5 million 8 3/8% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985 due 11/01/06.

* South Carolina State Housing Authority, $12.1 million 7 3/8% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985B due 12/01/07.

* South Carolina State Housing Authority, $10.6 million 7 3/8% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985A, $3.5 million 8 7/8% industrial development revenue bonds Series 1986A due 12/15/01.

* Montgomery County, Penn., Industrial Development Authority, $0.6 million 7.30% industrial development revenue bonds Series 1986B due 12/15/01.

* Montgomery County Industrial Development Authority, $1.5 million revenue bonds Series 1984 due 12/15/94.

* Texas Housing Agency, $12.3 million adjustable-rate multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1985A due 12/01/07.

* Marietta, Ga., Housing Authority, $14.2 million 8 5/8% multifamily housing revenue refunding bonds Series 1983 due 03/01/05.

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