The U.S. ABS market got off to a surprisingly fast start last week, with news of Ford Motor Credit and Drive Financial bringing auto loan deals and MBNA America Bank tapping the credit card sector. Things slowed to a snail's crawl by mid-week, however, with an insurance premium loan deal from AIG Credit marketing throughout the week.

Ford got things started with its first auto loan deal of the quarter and third of the year, a $2 billion 2002-C transaction via Barclays Capital and Lehman Brothers jointly. The lead role was just the first auto mandate for Lehman this year and the third for Barclays. Barclays had never led an ABS for Ford and had only recently joined the selling group with its co-managing role in the 2001-E offering.

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