Despite a steadier pace of issuance in the second quarter for the consumer ABS market, the first half of 2008 finished significantly behind last year's totals.

Although overall volume was lackluster, issuance in the credit card sector remained resilient, contributing just over half of the total volume in the ABS market year-to-date, according to a recent report from JPMorgan Securities. Currently, credit cards are up 3% when compared with 1H07 while autos and student loan deals are down 19% and 30% respectively, the bank said.

Student loans took a hit this half when the auction-rate market seized up, cutting off a viable funding mechanism for issuers. As a result, some lenders left the sector, while investor pushback caused a liquidity shortage.

Year-to-date, consumer ABS issuance currently stands at $119.7 billion comprised of 113 deals, according to the ASR Scorecard database. This is down from $452.5 billion for 1H07 spread across 421 issues.

Managers across the board dropped in overall profitability in the sector. While JPMorgan managed to retain the top lead manager position with $23 billion in issuance, spread out between 32 deals, the bank fell from $45.5 billion in 57 deals for 1H07.

When broken down by sector, JPMorgan claimed the top spot for lucrative credit card ABS, issuing 18 deals totaling $16.5 billion in volume. The bank took second place among student loan issuers with six deals totaling $3.5 billion and third place among auto ABS issuers, also with six deals totaling $2.7 billion.

Citigroup Global Markets ranked second with 28 deals totaling $21.8 billion, a drop from 48 deals totaling $33.4 billion in 1H07 when the bank ranked in fourth place. However, Citigroup managed to place first for auto ABS issuance and student loan deals, selling $6.4 billion in 10 deals and $4.6 billion in four deals, respectively.

Banc of America Securities was not far behind issuing 31 deals amounting to $21.3 billion, putting the bank in third place, but down one notch from a year ago. For 1H07, the bank put out 56 deals totaling $37.4 billion. The bank also placed third in credit card ABS issuance with $12.7 billion in 16 deals, while taking eighth place with $1.6 billion in issuance for auto ABS deals and fourth place in student loan issuance with $2.9 billion in five deals.

Rounding out the top five were Barclays Capital, which issued $8.6 billion with 19 deals and Deutsche Bank Securities which issued $7.8 billion in 16 deals.

Perhaps the biggest mover on the chart was Morgan Stanley, who had a dramatic fall to twelth place from third with seven deals totaling $2.7 billion. This is down from 40 deals totaling $35 billion in 1H07.

(c) 2008 Asset Securitization Report and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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