Merrill Lynchannounced this week its plans to price a $1.8 billion deal backed by retail auto loans purchased wholesale from Capital One Financial, E-Loan Inc., Ford Motor Credit Co. and Onyx Acceptance Corp. The seven-tranche deal includes five tranches with an expected rating of triple-A or better, as well as single-A and triple-B classes, according to a presale report from Fitch Ratings. The deal represents the first auto loan securitization issued by the Merrill Auto Trust Securitization, tagged MATS 2005-1.


The average FICO score of the 138,127 loans in the deal is 733, and the loans are split nearly equally between new and used cars. The average seasoning for the pool is 17 months and the weighted average life to maturity is 43 months. 16.32% of the loans were originated in California, with Texas comprising the next largest percentage at 11.76%. Ford Motor Credit and Capital One will retain servicing on the 32,048 and 16,921 loans originated by the respective entities. Servicing of E-Loan originated receivables will be contracted to JPMorgan Chase unit System & Services Technologies, Inc. Onyx currently services its own loans, Capital One acquired Onyx in January and plans to merge Onyx's servicing system with its own platform, according to the report.

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