The Australian mortgage-backed markets are displaying new depths - and may even be showing the first signs of maturity - with the entry of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to the global MBS market through a US$955 million issue, and the return of St. George to the domestic arena with a A$600 million (US$365 million) transaction.

The deals were announced on the same day, as if to emphasize the diversity of funding opportunities open to major issuers and to explode two widely-held notions: that the domestic market is too small to accommodate large (by Australian standards) deals; and that the global market - or at least the predominantly U.S. investors therein - face a steep learning curve when evaluating Australian MBS issuers. There is, in fact, some truth in each of these notions. CBA and St. George appear to have demonstrated, however, that shrewd marketing can help overcome such obstacles.

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