New issuance slowed to a crawl as equity markets spiraled downward during the first half of the week. Just a handful of transactions priced for a total of just $3.29 billion, with the asset-backed market showing the first signs of weakness this year.
With no auto loan, credit card or home equity loan issuance in the public markets greater than $500 million in size, the market turned to off-the-run issuers for activity. Names like Access Group, CDC Mortgage and Option One Mortgage's Woodbridge - as well as the return of AIG Credit - were circulated last week, the majority of which pricing at the latter half, once the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped the 8,000 mark.
A pair of student loan deals from graduate school lender Access Group Inc., an annual issuer in the term markets, priced via Deutsche Bank Securities and UBS PaineWebber, jointly.
The $488.5 million 2002-1 offering is backed entirely by FFELP loans, while the $318.85 million 2002-A offering is all alternative loan collateral - which are essentially unsecured consumer loans. Within 2002-A, 78.8% of the loans are to law school students. Both of the transactions contained a mix of three-month Libor and auction rate securities. In last year's transaction, the issuer bifurcated the two types of loans and offered separate groups within the same trust.
Spreads for the Libor floaters widened a touch in the 2002-1 FFELP deal, with the three-year A1 class pricing at seven basis points over three-month Libor, out from initial talk in the five area. Seven-year A2 2002-1 notes priced at 18 basis points over three-month Libor, out slightly versus initial guidance in the 17 area. The 2002-A offering, on the other hand, saw its triple-A five-year Libor class widen from initial talk in the low 30 basis point area over three-month Libor to price at 39 basis points over.
AIG Credit returned to the market after restructuring its insurance premium loan securitization. The 2002-1 offering, via Salomon Smith Barney as lead, shortened its average life to three years and kept the offered spreads seen for five-year paper. The triple-A class priced at 20 basis points over one-month Libor, in line with guidance; the single-A rated subordinated class, however, moved out to 55 basis points over one-month Libor from guidance in the 45 basis point area.
CDC Mortgage, which has become a quarterly presence in the asset-backed market, brought a $400 million home equity deal backed by loans it acquired in the whole loan market. The 2002-HE2 deal, led by Morgan Stanley, tightened in the triple-As, thanks to a partial FSA wrap. With the exception of the single-A rated M2 class, which widened 20 basis points, spreads came in within price guidance.
Also making the rounds last week were self-led home equity deals from Credit Suisse First Boston and Lehman Brothers. Option One was planning to price its Woodbridge trust scratch & dent mortgage-related program exception deal Friday via Banc of America Securities and Greenwich Capital Markets.