A deal last week by Mexican credit agency Fonacot ended a dry spell in consumer loan securitizations that began with the final issue off a program by department store Elektra in mid 2002. "After Elektra we saw nothing," said Maria Tapia, an analyst with Standard & Poor's. While bankers have lavished attention on other asset classes in the peso market, consumer loans have been kept on the back burner. But as low interest rates hold for consumers and originators look to expand, more deals are expected in the future.

In a recent report on the sector, Standard & Poor's said the annual growth of non-bank consumer loans was 10.1% for the past five years, based on central bank data. Growth galloped ahead at 16% in the first half of the year. "The biggest department store chains have drawn more borrowers than ever and a result has been increasing their sales and loan portfolios," the report said. Sources cited stores Sears, El Puerto de Liverpool, El Palacio de Hierro, Singer, and Samsa as leading originators and potential issuers.

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