Genworth Says Mortgage Unit May Return to Profit in 2013

Genworth Financial Inc. (GNW), the life insurer and mortgage guarantor, said its operation backing home loans may rebound next year on the strength of policies sold after 2008.

Trends in the business “suggest opportunity to return to profitability during 2013,” the Richmond, Virginia-based insurer said today in a presentation. The forecast assumes “no material global economic downturn,” the company said.

Chief Executive Officer Michael Fraizer is seeking to stem losses from mortgages that fueled a 75 percent decline in Genworth’s stock in the five years through yesterday. The firm said yesterday that Ray Romano, previously of Freddie Mac, was hired as chief risk officer of U.S. mortgage insurance and Dean Mitchell was promoted to chief financial officer of the unit.

The insurer has scheduled a two-hour webcast for today to discuss its U.S. mortgage business. Genworth also sells life insurance and does business in Canada and Australia.

Genworth’s mortgage-insurance segment’s operating loss narrowed to $94 million in the fourth quarter from $352 million a year earlier, the company said last week. The firm, which tightened underwriting standards after the housing-market collapse, is benefiting from an increase in mortgage refinancing and a shift from Federal Housing Administration coverage to private insurance, Genworth said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Ludtke in New York at aludtke@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net

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