CIFG Guaranty yesterday was downgraded to A-plus from AAA by Standard & Poor's, marking the third downgrade for the beleaguered bond insurer in the last week. The outlook remains negative.

The rating change came as municipal market officials, including issuers, insurers, and rating agencies, appeared before the House Financial Services Committee hearing in which chairman Barney Frank, D-Mass., and other members of Congress referred to raters and insurers as holding issuers hostage in order for issuers to obtain market access.

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