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.

The investment bank also took a substantial 20% share of ABS business for the quarter, whereas in previous quarters, the business was much more fragmented. Although individual banks have taken double-digit shares of business, none has dominated the business to such a degree, at least by more recent accountings.

JPMorgan was followed by second-place finisher Banc of America Securities, with $11.9 billion, and an 18.7% share of business. Banc of America was the top underwriter at the end of 1Q07, taking an 8.7% share of business during that period. Citigroup Global Markets came in third, with $11.3 billion, and a 17.7% market share.

Barclays Capital placed fourth, with $8.9 billion in deals, based on partial credit to book, and a 14% share of underwriting business. In the same period last year, Barclays had placed 15th among lead managers in 1Q07, according to revised ASR Scorecards data.

Deutsche Bank Securities rounded out the top five banks, after taking the lead role on $5.5 billion in deals, for an 8.6% share. Rounding out the top 10 were: Credit Suisse, which came in sixth with $4 billion in completed deals; Wachovia Securities, in seventh place with $2.1 billion in business; Goldman Sachs, which ranked eighth with $1.5 billion in new deals; Morgan Stanley, which came in ninth with $1.3 billion in deals; and RBS Greenwich Capital, which had $1.2 billion in transactions.

Gone entirely from this year's first-quarter rankings was Countrywide Securities, which had placed ninth among lead managers in the same period last year. That company is now being acquired by Bank of America.

(c) 2008 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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