Following a tough year for home-equity, with various headline-risk issues (i.e. predatory lending) and continued industry consolidation, the home-equity sector might have scored a few points last week when Chase Manhattan confirmed that it is, in fact, Advanta's suitor.

This, combined with Citibank's acquisition of Associates First Capital, adds to the sense that the market is maturing, analysts said, as the larger banks move further into subprime.

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