Countrywide Home Loans Inc., last year's leading U.S. ABS issuer, maintained its pace throughout the first quarter, bringing more than $21 billion of new-issue ABS to the market, according to data maintained by Thomson Financial. The Calabasas, Calif.-based mortgage giant accounted for 9.4% of the primary supply sold throughout the quarter. This outpaces its 1Q04 market-leading production of $17.3 billion.

Countrywide sold almost $7 billion more than the next-most-frequent issuer, Lehman Brothers, which sold $13.7 billion in the three-month period ending March 31, up from the $10.4 billion it sold over the same period a year ago. Showing the continued influence of the whole-loan market, Lehman was one of three brokerage houses that make up the five leading ABS issuers.

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