Mortgage insurer PMI Group Inc
reported a wider quarterly loss, as its U.S. unit continued to post disappointing results.

The company posted a loss of $228.2 million, or $2.76 a share from continuing operations for the latest fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $181.0 million, or $2.22 a share, a year back.

PMI's U.S. mortgage insurance operations posted a net loss of $242 million. This is up sharply from a loss of $174.1 million the unit posted in the same period last year.

Mortgage insurance is bought by homebuyers securing loans with down payments of less than 20 percent to repay the lender if there is a default.

PMI's principal operating subsidiary said on Monday that Fannie Mae has approved it as a direct issuer of mortgage guaranty insurance. The unit also obtained a waiver to continue writing new mortgage insurance business, even if it falls below the capital requirements of the Arizona state regulator.

Shares of the Walnut Creek, California-based company closed at $2.41 Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock traded as low as 26 cents last March.

(Reporting by Anurag Kotoky in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)