We are pleased to present BAM's 2020 Year in Review.  For a printable version, please go here.

    2 0 2 0
 Y E A R   I N   R E V I E W


A Message from BAM's CEO Seán McCarthy

Farewell 2020!

On behalf of the entire BAM team, I want to start 2021 by thanking everyone in the market who helped contribute to a record year.  The emergence of the COVID pandemic forced all of us to challenge our assumptions about credit quality and value, and this year's results show that investors have reached a strong conclusion: Bond insurance will be a key tool for risk management, now and in the future.

Overall, the industry posted its strongest year in more than a decade, guaranteeing 7.5% of all new issue par. For BAM, that meant more than $17 billion par insured across 2,300 individual policies (both records).  The industry growth included expanded penetration in two key areas: Taxable municipals and bonds with underlying ratings in the double-A category.  In the process, we've significantly expanded the universe of investors holding BAM-insured bonds, including more large institutional accounts and international buyers, which should contribute to enhanced liquidity in the future.

As a mutual insurer, BAM is committed to improving disclosure and transparency for the entire market. More than 8,700 BAM Credit Profiles are now available for free on our website, providing a credit summary for every transaction we insure.  In addition, the BAM GreenStar assessment program reached new highs in 2020, with $1.4 billion of green bonds verified across 88 new-issue transactions. 

Through it all, BAM remained focused on its mission: Helping our member-issuers achieve efficient access to the capital markets, while providing investors with a financially-strong guaranty against default that supports a durable, AA Stable rating from S&P and enhances the liquidity and value of their holdings. S&P affirmed our rating in June, recognizing our "proven record of credit discipline and growth," and "excellent capital and earnings with a meaningful capital adequacy buffer."

The municipal market is ending 2020 on a strong note and we are all looking forward to the rollout of vaccines in the coming months. We remain prepared to proactively address further volatility along the road to a full recovery from COVID-19.  Moreover, the BAM team stands ready to provide our credit expertise and support to our issuer members and the market as 2021 evolves.

Onward and Upward,


Seán W. McCarthy


BAM regularly publishes articles and videos addressing municipal credit issuers and other topics of interest to the market, and provides commentary to media organizations reporting on trends, including the increased usage of bond insurance by issuers.  Some 2020 highlights included:

Asset TV: Municipal Bonds Masterclass (December)

2021 Municipal Outlook: Bloomberg Radio Series (November)

The Wall Street Journal: Bond Insurance Returns to the Muni Market in a Big Way (October) 

CNBC FA Summit: Climate Risks and Your Clients' Portfolios (October)

Climate Week 2020: Municipal Green Bonds Update (September)
  Video Summary:  https://youtu.be/UAUIydg613k

Barron's: Muni Bond Insurance Makes a Comeback (August)

How Cities Can Respond to COVID and Racial Unrest: An Interview with BAM Director Clarence Anthony (July)

S&P Affirms BAM's AA Rating and Stable Outlook (June)

The Coronavirus Pandemic and Pension Risk: Learning from History (May)

The CARES Act: Implications for Muni Credit Analysis (April)

COVID and BAM's Insured Portfolio (March)


BAM GreenStar is the most widely used third-party verification program for green bonds sold by U.S. municipal issuers, with $2.2 billion par sold across more than 150 series since the program launched in October 2018.  All BAM GreenStar bonds align with the International Capital Market Association's Green Bond Principles.

  • Municipal green bond and BAM GreenStar volume both set new records in 2020
    • Issuers sold $1.37 billion of BAM GreenStar bonds in 78 transactions
  • Any BAM Member with outstanding insured debt can apply for a BAM GreenStar verification on their green bond sales - regardless of whether the new issue is insured
  • BAM GreenStar bonds are eligible for inclusion in the Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Network database




7.5% of all municipal new-issues were insured in 2020, up 27% from 2019, and the highest level since 2009

Source: BAM; IPREO;  As of December 31, 2020.


*Full year 2020 results will be published in February 2021.



*All BAM insured bonds are purchased by third parties - BAM is not a purchaser for any of these transactions. Sector distribution is reported according to BAM's internal categories; ratings distribution is based on BAM's internal ratings. Insured Par amounts shown in the chart above are based on in-force par insured; the percentages depicted in the pie charts above are based on in-force par insured. Both include surety policies and assumed reinsurance. Numbers may not add up due to rounding.

SEÁN McCARTHY, Chief Executive Officer
 212.257.6149 | smccarthy@buildamerica.com

Public Finance

SCOTT RICHBOURG, Head of Public Finance

    JULIET STIEHL, Head of East Region
     212.235.2521 | jstiehl@buildamerica.com

    TODD TOMICH, Head of West Region
     213.297.8001 | ttomich@buildamerica.com
Capital Markets

GRANT DEWEY, Head of Municipal Capital Markets
 212.235.2502 | gdewey@buildamerica.com

     BRYAN BAEBLERHead of Pricing and Secondary Markets
     212.235.2563 | bbaebler@buildamerica.com

     DANIEL BINGHAMHead of Institutional Markets
     212.235.2599 | dbingham@buildamerica.com

SUZANNE FINNEGANChief Credit Officer
 212.365.7563 | sfinnegan@buildamerica.com

MICHAEL WEINSTEINHead of Surveillance
 212.235.2517 | mweinstein@buildamerica.com

BETH KEYS, Chief Financial Officer
 212.365.7560 | bkeys@buildamerica.com 

LAURA LEVENSTEIN, Chief Risk Officer

Investor Relations

JEFFREY FRIED, General Counsel
 212.235.2514 | jfried@buildamerica.com

PATRICE JAMES, Manager - Public Finance Operations
Head of Diversity and Inclusion
 212.235.2599| pjames@buildamerica.com

RICK HOLZINGERHead of Investor Relations

DON FARRELL, Managing Vice President, Investor Relations
 212.235.2520 | dfarrell@buildamerica.com 

MICHAEL STANTON, Head of Strategy and Communications
 212.235.2575 | mstanton@buildamerica.com

200 Liberty Street, 27th Floor
New York, NY 10281
212.235.2500 | www.buildamerica.com


For new submissions, please email submission@buildamerica.com

SECONDARY MARKETS DESK      212.235.2550


View our profile on LinkedIn      Follow us on Twitter      View our videos on YouTube      View on Instagram      Like us on Facebook

The material contained in this Weekly Update (the "Material") is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute (i) an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any security or any insurance product, (ii) a template or form for use or (iii) financial, tax, legal, investment or accounting advice. You should not rely on any Material for any purpose, including, without limitation, as the basis for any financial, investment or insurance decision.  In no event will BAM be liable to any party for any damages, costs, expenses, legal fees or losses in connection with any use of the information, even if advised of the possibility of such damages.


BAM does not act as a fiduciary or investment advisor.  The Material is not intended as a recommendation to purchase or sell any of the securities referenced there and should not be used or considered as such under any circumstances.  The Material has been obtained from various public sources: BAM does not represent that it is accurate, timely or complete, and it should not be relied upon as such.  BAM assumes no obligation to update the Material. BAM does not perform an audit and undertakes no duty of due diligence or independent verification of any information presented here.


CUSIP identifiers have been provided by CUSIP Global Services, managed on behalf of the American Bankers Association by Standard & Poor's Financial Services, LLC, and are not for use or dissemination in a manner that would serve as a substitute for any CUSIP service.  The CUSIP Database, © 2011 American Bankers Association.  "CUSIP" is a registered trademark of the American Bankers Association.


Please be advised that insurance coverage cannot be bound or changed via submission of (i) any online form/application provided on our website or otherwise or (ii) any email, voice mail or facsimile. No binder, insurance policy change, addition, and/or deletion to insurance coverage goes into effect unless and until confirmed directly in writing by us.