Chase Manhattan Bank is hoping to expand the investor base for its credit-card securitizations with a first-of-its-kind owner trust card deal in the $800 million range expected to launch later this month or early next quarter, according to a source close to the situation.

The offering will be the first credit card-backed bond issued through an owner trust and will be led by Chase Securities Inc., which is structuring the transaction to contain class A and class B floating-rate notes benchmarked off of one-month Libor. The accounts in the transaction come from Chase's Visa USA Inc. and its MasterCard International Inc. programs.

The owner trust structure issues notes as opposed to traditional certificates, and that will bring to the table a group of new investors - primarily pension funds that were previously unable to buy card debt in the form of certificates because of ERISA, the federal act that bans pension fund investment in certificates unless the amount of buyers hits 100.

Because of that "100 rule," the structure should also allow more investors the chance to buy subordinate tranches in the single-A and triple-B rated range, because buyside numbers have so rarely reached 100 on these higher-yielding, riskier tranches in the past.

The owner trust structure is also attractive to issuers, because they can erase receivables from their balance sheets as in typical securitizations, and also receive debt treatment for tax purposes. In the certificate format, it's more difficult to achieve both objectives: "participations," or certificates that represent interests in the trust, must be sold by the issuer.

Chase USA is servicer on the deal and Yasuda Bank & Trust Co. (USA) will act as trustee. Chase USA services credit card accounts at facilities located in Hicksville, N.Y., Tempe, Ariz., Tampa, Fla., Wilmington, Del., and Newark, Del.

One source agreed that the new structure should help get subordinate pieces sold. He said that he had heard from someone close to the deal that the only piece of the upcoming transaction structured as a note rather than a certificate was the C-piece.

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