The subprime mortgage meltdown continues to alter the asset securitization market. In the first place, issuance was just $63.8 billion, a 71.7% plunge from the $225.6 billion in transactions that the industry completed at the end of the first quarter last year. With business down by more than two-thirds from last year, it left leading investment banks to juggle the bad news of writing down losses and imposing layoffs while trying to get work done, too.

Now, industry changes are evident in the lineup of lead managers. JPMorgan Securities, whose parent company is trying to accomplish a buyout of Bear Stearns , topped the rankings, after acting as lead manager on $13.3 billion in ABS transactions, according to the ASR Scorecard database. JPMorgan's ranking partially reflected the dynamics of first-quarter securitization business, when the industry relied largely on consumer ABS assets to sustain momentum. JPMorgan was first among SLABS managers, second among those who handled auto ABS deals, and third among underwriters of credit card ABS deals.

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