In scaling back a $2 billion loan-origination program by more than half, diversifying its business with monolines and raising FICO targets, it appears a leaner AmeriCredit Corp. has emerged to close out 2003. Speaking to equity investors last week at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group's Annual Investor Conference, company President Daniel Berce credited the ABS market for providing the liquidity it needed throughout the year.

Armed with oodles of data, Berce pointed to the benefits of the new operating strategy AmeriCredit began implementing in February, which subsequently provoked heated debate around the capital markets. Because AmeriCredit is one of the leading independent non-prime auto finance companies, its health makes for big headlines.

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