New York-based investment banking firm John W. Loofbourrow Associates Inc. has hired Andrea Blattman as a managing director. Prior to joining Loofbourrow, Blattman had spent three years at ING Barings as director of private placements with a focus on structuring Latin American deals.

Founded in 1980, Loofbourrow specializes in the private placement of asset-backed deals, often from first-time or infrequent issuers in the private market such as Student Finance Corp. - which Loofbourrow brought to market in 1995 and has maintained a relationship with since.

"We tend to specialize in early-stage issuers, which can fall under the radar of larger firms," said John Loofbourrow, founder and president of the firm.

Given the rampant consolidation among larger shops in 2001, Loofbourrow sees opportunity between the footsteps of giants.

Referring to the consolidation trend, Loofbourrow said, "That kind of turmoil always creates opportunity. I had a lunch recently with someone from [one of the larger shops] whose posture was We don't do any deals smaller than $300 million.' Of course, we'd love a deal in the $50 to $100 million range."

Although not necessarily a household name, Loofbourrow -the firm and the man himself - has been somewhat of a quiet pioneer in the private placement and securitization world.

After founding John W. Loofbourrow Associates Inc. in 1980, Mr. Loofbourrow developed the first second mortgage securitization - the $35 million Advanta Mortgage Trust I - in 1988. That deal also represents the first use of a spread account and was the maiden transaction for the now-defunct Continental Financial Services.

In 1991 Loofbourrow introduced the concept of a second mortgage conduit, and in 1996-97 he created the first triple-A-rated securitizations of factored receivables and alternative student loans.

After its World Trade Center offices were destroyed in the terrorist attacks, Loofbourrow and Associates is settled into a new downtown location and is moving forward with some innovative transactions.

In mid-December the firm priced a $35 million privately placed securitization of Post Office leases. Rated triple-A, the deal will have a second $17 million takedown this month.

Over 26,000 post offices in the United States are on long-term lease - many times to individuals - with an average maturity of 20 years. This transaction is only the third of its kind and the first done as a private placement. A fourth is currently in the works.

In addition, Loofbourrow is currently structuring a Legal-Receivables transaction for Redwood Capital. The underlying assets are billing receivables due several law firms from insurance companies and other corporate clients.

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