National Auto Finance last week announced its intention of stepping up its presence in the asset-backed securitization market after closing a $51 million deal - the company's first in almost two years following an extensive financial restructuring that ended in April.

In the next four to six months, the company will herald a more regular pattern of issuance by securitizing its auto loans again, this time perhaps in a public deal.

"Our preference and goal to go forward is to do a public deal," said Tom Costanza, chief financial officer at National Auto.

Longtime National Auto underwriter First Union Capital Markets traded its management duties for a buyside position on this deal, beginning what will be a two-year sales agreement between the two companies.

"First Union has a commitment to participate as a B-note purchaser in securitizations over the next two years," said Costanza.

On this last deal, First Union bought $3 million in Class-B notes. The Class-A notes were purchased by Prudential Insurance Co. of America, which invested $48 million. The deal was insured by Financial Security Assurance.

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