Cagamas, Malaysia's state-owned secondary mortgage agency, certainly knows how to test the patience of potential underwriters for its securitizations. When it spent four months deciding which bank would arrange its first Islamic MBS - eventually choosing HSBC (see ASR 3/21/05) - many Asian bankers reckoned it was the most drawn out mandate process in recent memory.

Despite holding this unenviable distinction, Cagamas has begun deliberating over a forthcoming SME loan-backed offering. As the end of 2004 approached, the agency sent out RFPs, with bids due at the end of January. With the selection of an advisor for its Islamic deal still unresolved, a decision over the SME arranger has continually been pushed back. The agency eventually informed interested parties a decision would be made by early April.

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