Anticipating a growth in the segment, Fitch Ratings recently launched its methodology for CLOs backed by middle market loans - a product somewhere in between conventional business loan securitizations and commercial loan-backed CLOs.

To date, Fitch has rated four such transactions, said Elizabeth Russotto, an analyst in Fitch's credit products group. The rating agency expects the pace of the product to pick up gradually this year and more so into 2003.

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