Despite finishing fourth in the first-quarter league table race, a closer look at the final league table numbers from Thomson Financial shows that Credit Suisse First Boston ranked No. 1 when all self-led transactions were excluded from the year-to-date tally.

When factoring out transactions issued by captive units of underwriting entities, such as Citibank, Chase Funding or Bank of America's EquiCredit, CSFB led just over $11.9 billion of supply, exceeding second-place BofA by approximately $1.2 billion.

While self-led issuance does count as supply - therefore impacting spreads - the pared-down number often represents a more accurate reflection of outside business drummed up by an origination team. Noting that a lead mandate for another bank's subsidiary is more than unlikely, CSFB's U.S. ABS co-head Joe Donovan said, "We can only win in areas of the market where we can compete."

Excluding self-led deals, Salomon Smith Barney placed third, with $9.217 billion, Deutsche Bank, fourth, with $8.9 billion and JPMorgan, fifth, with more than $8 billion sold.

With the exception of the exact order, the top five is made up of the same firms that top the self-led-inclusive league tables - a point not lost on CSFB's Donovan. The CSFB ABS head points to the trend of multiple bookrunners on the large offerings, as well as the fact that self-led deals from large banking entities are somewhat of a barrier to entry into the upper echelon of underwriters.

"The story in the first quarter is how many joint-lead managed roles there have been," added Donovan, noting both the Ford 2002-A and GMAC CARAT 2002-A deals that featured three-way joint leads. "If these trends continue, by year-end the top five or six (underwriters) will have distanced themselves from the pack."

GMAC tops issuers

Among issuers, the three-headed issuance entity of General Motors Acceptance Corp. sold the most supply, responsible for $10.6 billion of issuance. The lion's share of this came out of the GMAC-RFC unit, which sold 11 securitizations of various mortgage-related product, for a total of over $7.1 billion. Captive auto finance company GMAC priced one retail auto-loan ABS totaling $2.27 billion and GMAC Mortgage priced two deals for $866.3 million.

GMAC-RFC managing director Diane Wold confirmed that this was a larger-than-usual quarter of funding for RFC, and that it is not on pace to securitize the $28.4 billion pace it set. "This was a larger quarter for us because we had some carry-over from the fourth quarter," Wold said. "We had the flexibility to move production from late last year and market conditions were favorable for us to do so."

Ford comes in second, with two offerings so far this year totaling roughly $7.8 billion. Bank of America, bolstered by the largest ABS to date from unit EquiCredit, issued the third most supply, with $6.7 billion sold.

Of the top six issuers, three are banks which have underwriting units: in addition to BofA, JPMorgan Chase is the fourth leading issuer with $4.8 billion, and Citigroup's Citibank unit pumped $3.5 billion of credit card supply into the primary market. With two deals last quarter for $3.58 billion from unit Sallie Mae, USA Education is the fifth-leading ABS issuer.

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