As National City Corp. contemplates offers for its subprime lending subsidiary First Franklin Loan Corp., many in the industry are wondering if one of those suitors could be a Wall Street investment bank. Spurred by visions of more profitable and streamlined home equity ABS businesses, many dealers have recently scooped up sometimes - and now more frequently - ailing subprime lenders.

During the firm's second quarter earnings conference call, National City Chairman and Chief Executive David Daberko last week said that several "interested parties" are currently courting the company. A decision, he said, would be made by the end of the quarter. (ASR, 07/17/06.)

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