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#fixed #income External Credit Enhancement

The most common forms of external credit enhancement are bank guarantees and surety bonds, letters of credit, and cash collateral accounts.

Bank guarantees and surety bonds are very similar in nature because they both reimburse bondholders for any losses incurred if the issuer defaults. However, there is usually a maximum amount that is guaranteed, called the penal sum. The major difference between a bank guarantee and a surety bond is that the former is issued by a bank, whereas the latter is issued by a rated and regulated insurance company. Insurance companies that specialize in providing financial guarantees are typically called monoline insurance companies or monoline insurers. Monoline insurers played an important role in securitization until the 2007–2009 credit crisis. But financial guarantees from monoline insurers have become a less common form of credit enhancement since the credit crisis as a consequence of the financial difficulties and credit rating downgrades that most monoline insurers experienced

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