The American Securitization Forum has lost a large portion of its board of directors in a dispute over control of the trade group.

As many as 20 board members have resigned, according to several people familiar with the matter. Only two firms remain on the board, according to one source.

Representatives of banks PNC, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America and accounting firm Ernst & Young confirmed that theor firms had resigned from their board seat and from their memberships with ASF.

ASF Executive Director Tom Deutsch issued a statement Monday afternoon saying that the separation from another trade group, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and related negotiations "have frankly been messier and more difficult than anyone expected."

The ASF "looks forward to concluding those negotiations with SIFMA in short order," Deutsch said.

According to one person familiar with the matter, departing ASF board members wanted to devolve more governance power from Deutsch to the full board membership. After the lobbying group left SIFMA three years ago, it had drafted governance documents that a number of members believed would only be temporary, this person said. They have been in effect since.

Deutsche said in his statement that the ASF remains "focused on the advocacy and educational needs of all of the interests in the structured finance industry, as a defining characteristic of the ASF is to represent the needs of all the different constituencies in this market, rather than any individual ones.”

Representatives of other firms represented on the trade group's board, including banks Wells Fargo, Wilmington Trust, Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup; accounting firm Deloitte; ratings agency Fitch Ratings; and law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, either declined to comment or did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

With additional reporting by Nora Colomer and Allison Bisbey

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