Via DaimlerChrysler's $1.5 billion deal last week, Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown and Credit Suisse First Boston embarked on their first significant joint lead together since the musical chairs that happened almost exactly one year ago.

CSFB was sole lead on an additional $300 million non-rated piece of the DaimlerChrysler deal.

With CSFB at $9.2 billion, and Deutsche at $7.1 billion, the two firms hold the second and third positions in the ABS year-to-date league tables, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data. These figures are subject to change.

For CSFB, this deal was the bank's first lead for Daimler's retail auto portfolio since 1994, although CSFB has been a co-manager on all four DaimlerChrysler deals since Joseph Donovan's group moved over from Prudential Securities last March. Further, CSFB was lead on Chrysler Corp.'s $500 million CARCO Auto Loan Trust in December, which is the automaker's dealer floorplan program.

CSFB has led deals this year for World Omni Financial, GMAC and Onyx, and closed a deal with Ford Motor Credit late last year.

"So we're actively involved in all the Big Three programs," said John McWilliams, a vice president at CSFB. "This is a first for this firm since the early 90s."

For Deutsche, apart from autos (Deutsche has also brought a GMAC deal this year), the bank has had a strong run in cards, managing Spiegel's $500 million deal last month, and Household International's mammoth $2 billion credit card deal in January. Deutsche is also No. 1 in the league tables for student loans.

Prior to the import of CSFB's former team, led by Jorge Calderon and Philip Weingord, and a few dozen others, Deutsche consistently hovered within one or two notches of the No. 15 spot for the ABS market.

Meanwhile, Bank of America occupies the No. 1 so far this year in autos, with approximately $3.9 billion in proceeds, according to TFSD. J.P. Morgan Chase is trailing by roughly $1 billion, then CSFB, $250 million short of JP Chase.

CSFB, at $2.8 billion, is currently the No. 1 underwriter in Rule 144A market, largely attributable to the bank's robust CDO activity.

Salomon Smith Barney is still leading the public market at nearly $10 billion, roughly $3 billion over CSFB and Deutsche, which were within $100 million of each other at press time - CSFB with the upper hand.

Disclaimer: These figures are liable to change dramatically, as the market heads into the end of the quarter, and the league table games begin.

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