As new ABS issuance for the year wound down last week - with the market placing only $4.2 billion - the focus turned instead to two of the most popular and competitive of yuletide activities: preparation of 2002 supply estimates and of course, year-end league-table jockeying.

This phenomenon is not shocking, of course, as balance-sheet concerns at quarter-end often lead banks to get some collateral off their own books through securitization; but with tight races for top-10 spots in the league tables, business in any form is at a premium.

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