Making a big contribution to the epic volume of ABS issued last year, mortgage giant Countrywide Securities came just shy of the $100 billion mark, beating out competitors with $93.5 billion in ABS issuance and an 8.2% market share. The Calabasas, Calif.-based issuer brought 127 deals to the market last year, from the 101 issues in 2004, when the company earned the number one spot and 10.2% share of the market through $88.9 billion worth of issuance.

The U.S. asset-backed securities market hit a record $1.1 trillion of issuance in 2005, a 26% gain from the $873 billion issued in 2004 and the first time the annual ABS market has ever hit the trillion-dollar level, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial. (see cover article).

Coming in at number two in 2005 was the much talked about General Motors Corp. The troubled auto maker - the world's largest - did not spin its wheels in ABS issuance, instead driving up a notch from a third place position last year through 142 deals amounting to $58.4 billion of market issuance. Accounting for all three general motors units that securitize, GM reached a 5.1% market share, slightly down from 5.8% in 2004, which was achieved through 93 deals worth $51.3 billion. Investors expect GM to sell a controlling stake in financing arm General Motors Acceptance Corp., the main originator of the company's ABS issuance. That move could help bolster the company through an investment grade rating [see ASR 10/24/05].

Lehman Brothers landed in 2005 just below GM, with $57 billion in issuance and a 5% market share, achieved through 122 deals. The investment bank ranked in the number four spot last year, when it issued 101 deals worth $39.7 billion and garnered a 4.6% market share.

Ameriquest Mortgage Corp. fell two spots in 2005 to number four. Based in Orange, California, the subprime lending behemoth brought 62 deals to the market last year, totaling $50.8 billion. The privately held Ameriquest still was neck-and-neck with Lehman and GM with a 4.5% market share last year. In 2004 the company issued 99 deals worth $53.1 billion and maintained a 6.1% market share.

Rounding out the top five U.S. ABS issuers for 2005 was Morgan Stanley. The investment bank, with 47 deals totaling $33.5 billion in issuance and a 2.9% market share, experienced a substantial drop from its nearest upward competitor Ameriquest. Still, Morgan Stanley only brought slightly less to the market in 2005 than a year earlier, when it brought $35.2 billion to the market through 74 deals and earned the same fifth place finish, but a substantially higher - 4% - market share.

(c) 2006 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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