New issuance last week picked up by to a frenzied pace, pricing $7.5 billion by Wednesday, tailing off late in the week as the focus shifted to the week ahead. The highlights in the primary market were a large deal by benchmark auto issuer as well as deals from names rarely seen by investors, leading to oversubscription and spread tightening.
The largest offering of the week was the fourth retail auto loan offering of the year from benchmark issuer Ford Motor Credit, which sold a total of $2.76 billion of paper via the joint leads and books of Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.
The series 2001-D deal went well, pricing in line with initial guidance across the board, although softness was seen in the largest class, $970 million of A3 paper, with a 1.94-year average life. The softening was credited to Treasury yield curve dynamics, specifically in the two-year sector.
"We fell victim to the all-time low yield seen in two-year Treasurys that the market saw this week," said Dave Farrar in Ford Credit's securitization group.
Scarcity value greatly helped the most successful deals of the week, as new issues from regional bank M&I Bank in the prime retail auto loan sector and retailer Target Corp. in the credit card sector, each saw heavy demand.
Milwaukee-based M&I Bank, the operating unit of holding company Marshall & Ilsley Corp. priced its first-ever auto loan securitization to strong demand that had overrsubscription rated ranging from 1.5 to two times oversold. The series 2001-1 deal, with four fixed-rate classes enhanced by a single sub class, which offered investors significant yield pick-up versus the Ford offering.
Credited with the offerings success was the high credit quality of the borrowers in the pool, with average FICOs in the 720-730 range and chargeoffs less than 20 basis points, according to Michael Burke, vice president in corporate treasury for M&I. Also, the Aa3/A+ credit rating of the bank, which will act as servicer for the deal. M&I plans to issue on an annual basis, he added.
Target, operator of more than 1300 retail outlets nationwide under various names, came into the market with its first securitization since August 1998, when the company was called Dayton Hudson. The company offered a single-tranche floating-rate $750 million series 2001-1 three-year bullet via Lehman Brothers. The deal priced at par with a coupon of 11 basis points over one-month Libor, one basis point tight to initial guidance. The deal was approximately 2.5 times oversold, it was added.
In addition to these deals, the market saw a flurry of offerings from regular programmatic issuers including American Express, Capital One, Chase Funding, Metris and Vanderbilt Mortgage in addition investor favorite but less frequent issuer Harley Davidson.
Also in the credit card sector, Lehman Brothers led a $1 billion five-year offering for Capital One, the company"s fifth of the year and $600 million of five year paper from American Express. Capital One, offering both fixed- and floating-rate classes, was increased from $738 million. Metris sold $650 million of three-year notes, via Banc of America, which also was increased and priced at the tight end of talk.
In RMBS-related issuance, Vanderbilt Mortgage priced $400 million of manufactured housing-backed paper via Credit Suisse First Boston, quickly tapping the market without any drastic revamping of structure, an achievement in that sector.
Option One Mortgage priced a small $132 million single-tranche net-interest margin securitization via Banc of America Securities and Greenwich Capital Markets jointly. The offering, part of the most recent $1.6 billion Option One deal to price July 16.